30 October 2017

South Africa: Judge Hears of 'Buy One, Get Three Free' Tik Special in Winnie Rust Case

One of the men accused of the murder of Wellington author Winnie Rust was so popular among Montagu drug dealers that he received special deals when he bought tik, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

"If you are famous, you buy one and get three free," witness Meagan Botha testified.

Botha was referring to accused Johannes Plaatjies, who has denied killing Rust.

The court heard that, the Saturday after the Wellington author was killed, Botha and Plaatjies spent time together in Montagu.

The two walked around the area, stopping to buy a small bottle of Smirnoff vodka and a mix. They used a R120 which Plaatjies had in his wallet.

The pair also went to "The Whitehouse" - a white-coloured house where people could buy drugs and use them freely, Botha explained.

A special deal

Since Plaatjies was "famous" they were given special deals on tik, the court heard.

However, the dealer never allowed anyone to buy drugs on credit, the witness testified.

Botha later heard, from children in the area, that the police were looking for Plaatjies, but did not know why.

The court heard that the pair also visited Joe Jansen, another witness, later that day.

Jansen testified that he bought a grey Acer laptop from Johannes. He paid R400 immediately and agreed to pay an additional R400 the following week.

Jansen told the court that Plaatjies claimed he was selling the laptop because he needed money to buy parts for his bakkie so that he could take the vehicle on a road trip.

Pages of prose

He added that, when he switched on the computer, he found music, videos, and a folder, containing pages and pages of prose, on it.

"For me it was like stories, like somebody who writes books. So, I thought it was a teacher's one, [with] compositions, that sort of thing."

When he noticed that the battery was low, he asked Plaatjies for the charger.

Plaatjies promised to bring the charger when he arrived the following week to fetch the remaining R400, the court heard.

"I had a faint suspicion (that it might be stolen), but I did not think it was really stolen," said Jansen.

He gave the laptop to the police when they came to his house the Sunday.

Rust was found dead in her home in Wellington on May 11, 2016.

Plaatjies was arrested the Sunday after her death.

A mentor

His co-accused, Nigel Plaatjies, who is his nephew, was arrested two days before him.

Rust had mentored Nigel Plaatjies and helped him financially.

She has known him since he was a child because his mother worked for her daughter.

Rust's works included "A Story about the Black Countess of Stamford", which told of the love between the daughter of a freed slave, Martha Solomons and a priest and aristocrat Harry Grey.

Nigel has, however, denied that he killed Rust, claiming in a statement before court that his uncle convinced him to rob the Rusts so that he could pay off drug debt.

He added that he never meant for Rust, whom he described as "his biggest fan", to die.

Nigel has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and attempted arson charge. He pleaded guilty to theft charges related to the use of Rust's bank card.

Johannes Plaatjies denied all the allegations against him, admitting only to pawning two rings that belonged to Rust.

The trial continues.


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