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Shona interpretation causes problems in SA court

by TimesLIVE
12 Jun 2017 at 11:26hrs | Views
One of the last people to see the Van Breda family alive was domestic worker Precious Myongane‚ who came in three days a week to wash‚ clean and iron at their luxurious home at De Zalze in Stellenbosch.

On Wednesday‚ in the High Court in Cape Town‚ she gave poignant details of their family life - from eldest child Rudi napping on the couch to Sasha the dog sleeping by Henri's bed.

But what caused a stir in the courtroom were the details she provided of an axe that she always saw in the scullery.

Myongane confirmed that she had "seen many axes in her life"‚ and that the one shown to her from the crime scene had the same appearance as the one she had repeatedly seen behind the ironing board.

When asked what it was used for‚ she said: "I do not know‚ because I never saw anybody using it."

Van Breda's defence counsel‚ Matthys Combrink‚ insisted that by her saying the axe from the scullery was "similar in appearance" to the one used to murder Martin‚ Teresa and Rudi van Breda‚ it did not mean that it was the actual weapon.

However‚ Judge Siraj Desai objected to the way in which he was interpreting Myongane's words as spoken by her Shona interpreter in court.

"You are entitled to cross-examine as you wish‚" Desai told Combrink‚ "but this is torturous. There has been no suggestion that there was another axe."

Myongane's testimony began with her description of how she was able to gain access to De Zalze three times a week by having an access card and using her thumb for biometric scanning. At the family home‚ 12 Goske Street‚ she would open a small gate using a key hanging on a string‚ and enter through the back door.

She provided detail of the Monday in January 2015 when three family members lost their lives.

Rudi van Breda lay under a blanket in the family lounge‚ Sasha was walking around freely‚ and as usual she could see a list of numbers that Teresa van Breda had shown her when she first joined the family as an employee "in case of any emergencies".

"There was nothing strange about the way the family acted that day‚" she said‚ adding that only Martin and Marli were not present.

She said also she could not testify as to "how Rudi and Henri got along or interacted with one another"‚ adding that she did not regularly see them speaking to each other.

This came after the testimony of Andre van Breda‚ Martin's brother‚ who painted a picture of a close-knit family that had "absolutely no enemies to speak of".

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Source - TimesLIVE
More on: #Shona, #Court