On Tuesday, the Defence put forward two more witnesses to testify in the case against triple murder-accused Henri van Breda.
We’ve already seen two scientific experts provide testimonies to the court on behalf of the Defence, but the third witness was a break away from that pattern.

Annelize Taljaard, a former resident of De Zalze Estate, was a neighbour of the van Breda family at 12 Goske Street. The mother of three lived two houses down with all her daughters. At the time the property directly next to the van Breda house was uninhabited and under construction.

Another neighbour, Stephanie Op’t Hof, previously testified for the State, and told the court how she had heard “shouting and arguing” and “loud, banging noises” coming from the van Breda house on the night of the attack.

Taljaard testified to the contrary, and put on record that she did not hear anything out of place that night, speaking about how safe she had felt living in the De Zalze Estate.

Taljaard told Advocate Pieter Botha that it was only the next morning when she had heard a thudding noise outside. She assumed it was the rubbish collection service, before discovering it was emergency services on scene two doors down. She had woken up at 5am to see to her daughters and had been awake for over two hours before SAPS arrived at the scene.

The next witness to testify after Taljaard was Charl Rabie, owner of Energised Fencing with 20 years experience in security systems.

Botha and Rabie’s exchange delved into the workings of electrified fencing. The witness described how the failover battery mechanism works in case of an electrical outage, its signal response time and the procedures followed when such an alarm is triggered. Rabie went on to say that it is “not impossible” for somebody to separate the wires with a stick if they knew what they were doing. The witness further explained that it’s not difficult to physically scale an electrified fence if the right tools were used.

“There is a misconception that if you have an electric fence you are completely safe. You don’t have to be an expert to get over electric fencing,” the court heard the witness say.

The van Breda trial resumes on Wednesday at 11am.

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Photography Megan-leigh Heilig / Justin Williams / HM Images

Article written by

Justin Williams

Justin Williams is a born-and-bred Capetonian with a flair for writing. His icons include the late South African authors Lawrence Green, Eric Rosenthal and T.V. Bulpin, literary figures who continuously inspire him to cover the avenues of lifestyle, travel and nature in a local context. When Justin's not covering a story, he can be found in the mountains - he's a renowned wild food forager and is currently learning herbalism.