November 18 2010 – WOLMARANSSTAD. Local farmer Franz Marx, 47, had to wait thirteen years to be found not guilty by the local magistrate’s court of attempted murder and other charges after he had carried out a citizens’ arrest of two of three black men who had attacked him on his farm in 1997, writes Susan Cilliers of Beeld newspaper.
Marx said he was very relieved after having to wait for thirteen years for the case to be completed. At the time of the incident, he was the commander of the then-Wolmaransstad farm commando and now still is the chairman of the farmers’ association. He had carried out a legal citizens’ arrest of two of three black men who had assaulted him with a stone and thrown stones at him.
He was accused by the two arrested farm-invaders, Johannes Thule and George Nduli, of attempted murder by holding them at gunpoint while ‘other men assaulted them”. However according to his lawyer Willie Nieuwoudt, the court had found the farmer innocent of all the charges “because the complainants had repeatedly changed their stories and frequently contradicted one another during testimony. “
Marx said that initially he had believed that the men were on the farm to attack him because the commando had received advance-intelligence of plans to do so. However as it turned out after two of the three tresspassers on his farm were arrested by the commando and taken to the police station, they claimed to be illegal diamond-panners instead. Wolmaransstad is well-known for its alluvial diamond-mining and the three men said they wanted to pan for diamonds on his farm without his knowledge.
“However when I saw the men walking with a bag on my farm, I thought they were there to attack me. They threw down the bag they carried, one attacked me with a stone and the others threw stones at me. I defended myself by striking at them with my pistol. During the struggle one of the men also fell into a hole and sustained head-injuries from that fall. The other man had no injuries; the third one ran off when I made a citizens’ arrest of the other two”, said Marx. He lodged charges of illegal tresspassing, attempted theft and assault but the local police had never pursued the formal complaint. Instead the National Prosecuting Authority decided to arrest and charge him instead. Pic: Carla van Niekerk http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Boer-na-13-j-vry-20101117