Murder of wine farmer was staged by his wife, State alleges
The wife of a wealthy Stellenbosch farmer allegedly hired two men to kill him and forged his will to get her hands on his assets.
The State contends that the murder of wine farmer Wynand Smit (62), who was shot and killed on 2 June 2019 at Louisenhof Farm in Stellenbosch, was staged by his wife.
Smit was shot dead by masked intruders while eating dinner. The State alleges that his wife, Zurenah Smit, hired hitmen to stage a fake robbery and murder her husband.
The hitmen were allegedly offered R2-million each to kill the wine farmer. Zurenah Smit allegedly told the hitmen that she would alter her husband’s will to ensure that she had enough to pay them.
Zurenah Smit, with Karel Derek Sait and Steven James Damon face 14 charges which include murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, forgery, uttering, illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of ammunition.
Court papers state that shortly after a land invasion on Smit’s property in 2018 he hired Bradley Shawn van Eysland to oversee the security on Louisenhof Farm.
A close relationship developed between the two and, according to the summary of facts, Zurenah Smit allegedly confided to Van Eysland that she was in an unhappy marriage and wanted her husband killed.
Van Eysland is alleged to have approached Sait, who worked as a security guard on the farm, to become part of the plot.
The State further contends that in 2018, after Wynand Smit was considering ending Van Eysland’s contract, he sent threats to Smit in order to frighten and persuade Smit not to do so.
Zurenah Smit allegedly made false claims of having seen strangers in the bushes near their home.
The State contends that between 9-14 November 2018 Zurenah Smit, with Van Eysland’s assistance, drugged Wynand Smit with sleeping pills so they could get hold of the safe keys which he kept in a moon bag around his waist.
They allegedly removed from the safe R235,000, a pistol, three Krugerrands worth R20,650 each, a Mandela/De Klerk coin worth R23,000 and a half-ounce Krugerrand worth R9,200.
The State alleges that Van Eysland and Zurenah Smit decided that they needed assistance from another person to kill Wynand Smit and Damon allegedly agreed to assist them.
The summary of facts indicates they agreed to stage a robbery during which Smit would be killed in front of a witness.
Emilia Allerman was invited to dinner with the wine farmer and his wife on the evening of 2 June 2019.
A door that allowed access to the room where Smit, his wife and Allerman were eating was left unlocked. The State claims that Van Eysland, Sait and Damon entered the room and Sait and Damon allegedly shot and killed Smit.
After Smit was murdered, the State alleges that Zurenah Smit forged her late husband’s will. This gave her power of attorney, full control over the management of his assets, yields from his pension and an undisclosed number of diamonds in safekeeping in Germany.
The accused are out on bail of R10,000 and are under house arrest. Sait and Zurenah Smit are also out on an additional bail of R5,000 after firearms and ammunition were found in Sait’s house 18 months after the murder.
The matter was postponed to 18 February 2022. DM/MC