Clive Geduld took the witness stand at the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday, where he said the accused, Levonna Jacobs, asked him to dig trenches in the backyard, not knowing he was digging the dead women’s graves.
He says at one stage, one of the victims even helped him, not realising she was digging her own grave.
Prosecutors are set to prove Levonna, 38, strangled her aunt Virna Jacobs, 47 and her cousin, Rowena Jacobs, 26, to death and buried their bodies in their backyard in Seringue Avenue in Delft-South.
It’s alleged she killed them because she wanted to take ownership of her uncle’s house.
Relatives dug up the bodies in December 2015.
Clive said about four months before then, he was hired by Jacobs to build a toilet and braai area in the backyard.
He said ironically, Virna and Rowena, whom he knew well, had come to him, saying Jacobs required his services.
He says the backyard was paved with cement, and Jacobs ordered him to break up the cement and start digging trenches.
Clive said she was very specific about the sizes of the holes, each more than a metre wide, and between one-and-half and two metres deep.
“I had chopped up the cement and when I began the trench, she said it must be wider and deeper. As I dug there was sand, I placed it on the side. She said the sand would be used to build with.”
He said Rowena helped dig her own grave.
“Rowena helped me to take the sand out of the hole and when I was done, she (Jacobs) said I must place doors and planks over it.”
Clive said he was not paid his R350 a day wages as promised by Jacobs, and went back to the house to get it, and that’s when he noticed that one of the holes had been covered.
He placed his spade in the hole, and “touched a plastic bag and blood splattered out”.
“She told me to leave it alone, that it was gevaarlik goetes and the smell was dangerous for (Rowena’s) children. She told me place a mat over it, which I did.”
He also noticed that Rowena was not home.
Clive said when he returned later to cement the yard again, he called to Virna to make him a cup of coffee like she usually did.
However, there was no response and Jacobs came to tell him that Virna had left for Namaqualand.
“She made me a cup of coffee and told me Virna had left with strange people to sort out her inheritance from her husband in Namaqualand,” he testified.
“She said she had sold 30 bags of sand (from the backyard) and that the holes were already covered, but I found it strange because the rubble which was supposed to be used to fill the holes was still there.”
He said when Jacobs turned her back he threw away the coffee because he had “become suspicious”.
On his way to the kitchen he noticed Virna’s belongings were still in her room.
“Her cellphone and entjies were on her bedside table, the bed was not made and her slippers were next to the bed,” he said.
“That was out of character because she was a very neat and proper person. Virna would also never leave without her slippers,” he said.
The case continues.