Widow of a South African farmer who was shot at home is “accused of forging his will to take advantage of his wine estate”
- Stefan Smit was killed last June by masked gunmen in his house in Stellenbosch
- Reports say that his wife Zurenha is accused of “fabricating” his will to win from the farm
- The farmer’s daughter reportedly described her as an “interested person”
The widow of a South African farmer who was murdered last year is accused of forging his will to profit from his winery.
Stefan Smit, 62, was shot last June by masked gunmen in his house in Stellenbosch.
His wife Zurenha survived the attack and family members claim that she had “invented” her husband’s will to make herself the beneficiary of his 300-year-old Louiesenhof wine estate.
According to The times, Martine, the daughter of Smit, has submitted legal documents in which her stepmother Zurenha is described as a ‘stakeholder’ with the police.
However, it is not suggested that 54-year-old Zurenha was involved in the death of her husband.
Murder victim: Stefan Smit (photo), 62, was shot by maskers last June in his home in Stellenbosch, in the heart of the South African wine country.
Mr. Smit’s altered will was reportedly found in a copy of the Bible in his home in the heart of the South African wine country.
The document aims to replace an earlier will and makes Zurenha the beneficiary of the wine domain, as well as other investments.
The farmer’s daughter Martine reportedly claimed in legal documents that the will was unusual because her father’s advisers had not been consulted about this. South African media have also reported their claims.
Martine Smit, 24, says that insurers have not yet paid Mr. Smit’s life insurance policy because the police are still investigating his death.
Accusations: Stefan Smit’s wife Zurenha (photo) is accused of forging the will of her husband
She claims that an earlier will, dated December 2018 and found in Mr. Smit’s vault, is his true will.
The modified will in the Bible was a “fraud not signed by my father,” she alleges, citing evidence from a police laboratory report.
One of her brothers and sisters supports her claim, just like Mr Smit’s former financial advisers, it is reported.
Zurenha has not yet made any public comments about the allegations.
Before his death, Mr. Smit’s farm had been the target of “settlers” who had built more than a hundred huts at the back of his estate.
However, no arrests have been made in the murder investigation and the motive for the murder of Mr Smit remains unclear.
He was killed when four men entered his vineyard through an unlocked back door and shot him. His wife and a family friend survived.
The police said at the time that they did not yet know whether Mr Smit’s death was related to the land conflict or that he was killed in a random attack.
The Louiesenhof wine estate was part of a farm called Koopmanskloof, which had belonged to the family since 1896 and had been in operation since at least 1701.
In dispute: family members claim that Mr Smit’s wife has ‘made up’ her husband’s will to make himself the beneficiary of his 300-year-old Louiesenhof wine estate (photo)
Violence against white farmers is a very sensitive issue in South Africa.
White farmers’ lobby groups accuse the ruling African National Congress of not doing enough to stop farm attacks.
Farmers’ murders have been taking place for more than 20 years, although experts say that farms are sometimes targeted because of their remote location and that white landowners are not necessarily selected.
The ANC is determined to redistribute land among the black majority of South Africa to correct the injustice of apartheid.
Critics condemn the policy as “land grabbers,” and proposals to take control of white property without compensation have increased controversy.
Donald Trump was in line in 2017 when he stated that his administration would look at the “large-scale murder of farmers.”
The South African government said at the time that Trump’s intervention “is only trying to divide our nation and remind us of our colonial past.”