Emotions stirred in Free State farming community after farm manager’s murder

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The brutal murder of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner has stirred emotions in the farming community. Horner was killed on a Farm in Paul Roux last week Friday. His body was found with a rope around his neck and tied to a pole.

Two men have since been charged with his murder.

Horner was killed on his one-year anniversary as a farm manager. Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa who were arrested for his murder appeared in the Senekal Magistrate Court on Tuesday. On the day of their appearance farmers from across the country descended on Senekal – to raise their voices against farm murders.

AfriForum’s deputy CEO, Ernst Roets, has called on government to take stern action against farm murders.

“The other side is people are angry and fed up with lack of action by South African government. We’ve had president Cyril Ramaphosa going into an international forum in 2018 and when asked about farm murder. He denied that it exists that there are not farm murders in South Africa. And more recently two weeks ago we had minister of police, Bheki Cele, saying that farm murders is something that should not be a priority for the police. And it made people very angry and people lose trust in government.”

AfriForum’s Ernst Roets reacts to Senekal violence:

A female warrant office was allegedly throttled and pushed aside before a mob stormed the court building demanding that the two murder suspects be handed over to them. A holding cell was vandalized and the two accused injured in the attack. A police vehicle was overturned and set alight. The ANC youth league in the Free State has opened a case against the protestors.

ANC youth league national spokesperson, Sizophila Mkhize, says Police Minister, Bheki Cele, failed to provide leadership.

“We feel that white people have really undermined democracy of South Africa, we also feel that white people do not recognize the South African government as their own. Therefore, we say it cannot be that they can just destroy the states property and no arrests have been made. No charges have been made. If it was black people that were protesting on Saturday, black people would have been shot, rubber bullets would been flying, hundreds of arrested would have been made. There nothing happen. And we are very angry at the justice system. We are very angry at the leadership of Bheki Cele, our comrade he failed to provide leadership on Saturday. He was supposed to provide leadership and he didn’t.”

More arrests  to be made following Senekal violence: 

Two residents have expressed mixed reactions.

“We are here to protect the property of the state, it is unruly to burn the SAPS vehicle even if you’re fighting for the genuine things.”

“What we can say is that let’s wait and see what will happen. We can’t condone this thing that is happening here.”

Farmers in the Free State call for the return of the death penalty: 

Following the violence a 51-year-old businessman was arrested for public violence, destruction of public property and attempted murder. On the day of his court appearance a large police contingent was deployed to Senekal. The NPA wants to add more charges.

Free State NPA spokesperson, Phaladi Shuping, says terrorism charges should be added.

“We are contemplating on charging him with terrorism because there are allegations of damage to property which is burning and a police vehicle. We regard those allegations as an attack against the state hence, the charges should add terrorism.”

MEC of Police, Roads and Transport in the Free State, Sam Mashinini has condemned the violent protest.

“No one is supposed to do what has happened in Senekal. We condemn that in the possible terms that it deserves we don’t agree. And the police in the investigation to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. What surprises me is that the vehicle that has responded, the vehicle that we are using to respond to criminal activities, when you burn it how do you expect the state to deal with criminals when you burn the very same resources that we are using so it is uncalled for.”

Various political parties have also weighed in on the violent protest action. Police Minister Bheki Cele intends to visit Horner’s family soon.

The bail application ruling of the businessman has been postponed to Tuesday. While the bail hearing of the two murder accused will be heard on Friday.