A South African 29-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for murder.
The incident happened when the family tried to assist the co-perpetrator.
The court says the country has witnessed an ever-increasing wave of violence.
An act of kindness ended in tragedy for an elderly Gauteng man when he was killed at his home in Little Falls, Roodepoort, while he and his wife were trying to help a man who didn’t have food.
The man, who was being given food, is still at large – but his 29-year-old friend, a Malawian national, was arrested in connection with the murder of 83-year-old Lewis Pereira.
The Malawian man, Samson Moyo, was sentenced to life in prison in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg earlier this month for the August 2020 incident.
According to the judgment, Pereira’s wife, Rosa, who was 80 at the time, said she had given a man, known as Jafta, an opportunity to work in her garden after her gardener contracted Covid-19.
Jafta came to work on three occasions and, on a Sunday night before this incident, he sent Rosa a WhatsApp message to ask for help, saying he had no money and food.
The woman told Jafta to come the following day.
Jafta also indicated that he would come with his “brother” from Malawi because he “wanted to show him how to work”.
The men arrived in the morning – but, as the woman was opening the outside room, one of the men “put his arm around her neck and throat, and put his other hand over her nose and mouth, so that she couldn’t scream. She couldn’t breathe and passed out, losing consciousness”.
“She regained consciousness and felt this man pushing her down, and it felt like he wanted to break her neck,” read the court papers.
Rosa lost consciousness a few times and only awoke when she was in hospital.
Her husband, however, died after he had been bludgeoned with a hammer on that day.
His post-mortem report revealed the cause of death was “multiple blunt force injuries to the head and face”.
During sentencing, it emerged that Moyo arrived in the country in 2014 and worked as a gardener, renovating properties and earning R15 000 a month.
The court said although Moyo was not charged for robbery with aggravating circumstances, it was clear from Pereira’s evidence that there was money missing, which she kept in her wardrobe, as well as a bag of R5 coins in a side drawer near her bed.
A ring of hers was also missing, as well as her husband’s watch.
Gauteng High Court Judge Dario Dosio said:
This country has witnessed an ever-increasing wave of violence. Murder with the use of a hammer is increasing. Innocent and defenceless victims continue to fall prey to these types of offences. In this instance, two elderly pensioners were attacked while trying to assist an impoverished co-perpetrator whom, to date, has still not been caught.
“The accused is young and strong. For him to have attacked such elderly people is despicable,” he said.
Purely out of greed
“It is clear that Mrs Rosa Pereira, as well as her family, suffered terribly as a result of the loss of a husband, father and grandfather,” the judge said.
Moyo has two children, who live with their grandmother in Malawi. Prior to his arrest, he would send money every month to maintain his children.
Dosio said Moyo did not show genuine remorse.
The only thing he said since being convicted was: “I ask my mother to look after my children.”
“The accused was self-employed prior to committing this act and was earning a good salary of R15 000 a month. As a result, this court cannot find that the motivation for committing this crime was [a] need. As a result, the court finds he committed this crime purely out of greed.
“There is no clear explanation before this court as to what motivated the accused to commit or partake in these heinous crimes, especially since he himself has a young family to maintain.”