Farmer now faces murder rap

ARRESTED AGAIN: The accused in the alleged kidnapping of Ntsako Richard Mkhari, Johan van Niekerk, 69, accompanied by police to the Phalaborwa magistrate's court last Thursday. Pic. Alex Matlala. 26/07/07. © Sowetan.
ARRESTED AGAIN: The accused in the alleged kidnapping of Ntsako Richard Mkhari, Johan van Niekerk, 69, accompanied by police to the Phalaborwa magistrate's court last Thursday. Pic. Alex Matlala. 26/07/07. © Sowetan.

Frank Maponya and Alex Matlala

Frank Maponya and Alex Matlala

The Limpopo farmer who was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a man he found hunting on his farm two weeks ago is now facing a murder charge.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed yesterday that Johan van Niekerk was rearrested last Friday on suspicion that he killed Ntsako Mkhari, who he found allegedly hunting illegally on his farm on July 15.

Mojapelo said the decision to rearrest the farmer was prompted by information police had gathered so far, which made them suspect that Van Niekerk, 69, could have killed Mkhari.

Van Niekerk appeared before magistrate Helena Buitendag in the Phalaborwa magistrates' court on Monday on a murder charge.

He was initially arrested on Wednesday last week on a kidnapping charge but was released on R10000 bail.

He will appear on both charges at the same time.

Buitendag said there was no concrete evidence linking Van Niekerk to the murder of Mkhari.

The magistrate reiterated the stand she took last week that she could not send Van Niekerk to jail without substantial evidence linking him to the crime.

"But your bail conditions will remain," she told Van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk has been ordered to report at Gravelotte police station once every two days and not leave Gravelotte until his next court appearance on August 15.

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