On Monday, a Free State farmer and two Lesotho nationals appeared in court over the murders of five family members who were shot and burnt inside their houses.

An 11-month-old baby was also hit with a knobkerrie in the attack but survived. He is still in hospital, two weeks after the attack.

They face charges of murder, attempted murder, arson, defeating the ends of justice and aiding escape. Their case has been postponed to April 19.

They are to be joined by another Lesotho national, Mothae Tsoeute, 41, who will face the same charges on April 15. The four will then all appear in court on April 19.

Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, spokesperson for the Free State police, said it was not known whether all the three Lesotho nationals were related as they share a surname.

The victims were shot and burnt inside their homes in Marakong village, Namahadi, QwaQwa, in the early hours of April 4. Four children who survived raised the alarm.

An 11-month-old baby, Relebohile’s grandson, was allegedly hit with a knobkierie in the face. He survived the attack and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Mnguni allegedly took the suspects to his farm in Harrismith where he hid them after the attack.

Police said at the time that “The farmer is charged with defeating the ends of justice after it emerged that he had been transporting the suspects with his vehicle, assisting them to evade the law. His vehicle was confiscated”.

It was not yet known what the relationship was between Mnguni and the suspects, and whether he was at the scene of the murder or met the suspects somewhere after the killings and took them to his farm.