Van Breda defence homes in on holes in fence

Multiple-murder accused Henri van Breda’s defence counsel is homing in on holes made by animals under the fence at the luxury Stellenbosch estate where three members of his family were hacked to death in 2015.

Piet Botha‚ cross-examining estate security manager Marcia Rossouw‚ asked her whether there were holes under the fence.

She confirmed this‚ as well as the fact that rocks had been placed there to secure the fence until repairs could be made.

Judge Siraj Desai asked whether this had been the case on the night of the murders.

Rossouw said there had been holes with rocks over them‚ but that if someone had moved them and come onto the estate‚ the fence could shock them or trigger the alarm.

Also‚ although she had not gone personally with them‚ her team had inspected the fence after the murders and found no evidence that the rocks had been moved.

Botha argued that if an object triggered the alarm when the alarm was already triggered‚ the control room in Parow would not pick up the fact that another breach had happened.

To illustrate this‚ he conjured up imagery of a frog invasion.

“Say you have an invasion of frogs at zone 34 and the first frog hits the fence‚ the alarm is then set off because the people in Parow will then tell people at De Zalze to respond,” Botha said.

“While the responder is driving to the fence‚ another frog or 10 or 20 frogs can hit the fence‚ and the people monitoring in Parow will not know that there is more than one frog at the fence.”

Rossouw pointed out that it only took four minutes to respond to an activated alarm (whether or not it was a frog).

She also spoke about how Van Breda’s access card was used by someone else at some stage and his sister Marli’s card was used by her friend and her friend’s mother – but not on the day of the murders.

Also‚ some people said they had heard a car drive at high speed, although there were no complaints on the actual night.

She said the newspaper delivery person drove a car that made a racket and the person had to sign in to deliver the papers.

When they looked at the security footage after the murders, “there was nothing that made us wonder about anybody gaining entry to the estate”, Rossouw said.

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