Farmers in the Eastern Free State say they lose over a million rand a month due to stock theft. This was raised during their meeting with Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, today.
The meeting was an attempt to quell tensions in the area following a violent protest that erupted in Senekal last week after two men made a brief appearance for the murder of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner. The Ministers also visited Horner’s family.
The farming community has pleaded with ministers to make crimes against the community a priority. Chairperson of Rural Safety in the Eastern Free State, Herkie Viljoen says for years the farming community has been asking for assistance from government.
“We lose about R1.5 million per month due to stock theft. We have been struggling for a long time regarding this. We have been begging for help but we got nowhere. We are appreciate that the minister was here today I think he heard it is unfortunate that this come only after a young man’s life was lost.”
Grain SA’s representative in Paul Roux, Fanie Mashinini, says farmers have suffered a lot.
“We are struggling; there have been too much criminal activities in the farms. We just want justice to be served.”
Horner’s killers will face the music
Addressing the farm community, the Ministers stressed that those responsible for Horner’s murder will be brought to book.
Minister Dlodlo says the matter will be handled by the crime prevention and security cluster.
“We visited the family and we told them we will make sure that all is done to address this issue at hand.”
Minister Cele raised concerning over the fact that the two men accused of Horner’s murder have previously been arrested 16 and two times respectively for stock theft.
The farming community has on the other hand given Minister Cele three weeks to address farm attacks and stock theft in the area.
Meanwhile, 51-year-old Andre Pienaar who was arrested a group of demonstrators stormed the court building when the suspects in Horner’s murder appeared in court, has been remanded in custody until November 20.
He is facing charges of attempted murder, malicious damage to property and public violence.
SABC News’ Aphumelele Mdlalane elaborates on the case and the Ministers’ visit: