Witness says farmer shot man dead for no reason

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The Limpopo farmer who shot and killed an employee, whom he claimed to have mistaken for a baboon, did so unprovoked.

The Polokwane high court yesterday heard that Jewell Crossberg, 52, of the farm Ronchero, in Musina, fired several shots at a group of Zimbabweans working on his farm on June 21 2004.

One of the bullets struck Jealous Dube, a 27-year-old Zimbabwean employee. He died at the scene.

Testifying before Judge Ronnie Boshielo yesterday, state witness Happius Mpofu said Crossberg fired randomly at the group and without provocation.

Mpofu said the group was walking on the farm road at about 7am when Crossberg approached them in his car.

He said Crossberg stopped his vehicle and pulled a rifle from behind one of its seats.

"He shouted at us and accused us of being lazy," Mpofu told a stunned court.

"When Crossberg stopped his car, three of us were standing on the right side of the car and the other two were on the left side.

"We never thought he would do something to hurt us," Mpofu said.

"Realising that he had pulled out a gun, we ran in different directions for cover. He fired five shots towards our direction, but could not catch the target.

"I then heard him firing two shots towards Dube and the next thing Dube was dead," he said.

Mpofu, who is the first witness to testify against Crossberg, said there was no reason for Dube to be killed.

He said he had not noticed Dube's injuries until Dube's father was called on to identify his son's body at a government mortuary in Musina a few days after the killing.

Mpofu was in the company of Dube, Kenneth Mlambo, Elias Ngulube and Onisimo Musa when the shooting happened.

He will continue to give testimony today.

The trial is set to end on Friday.