Both condemnation and condolences have poured in this week after Johannes Mazibuko – an elderly “emerging farmer” – was reportedly attacked by a gang of six at his property in Frankfort, Free State. This latest farm murder case has sparked anger amongst political representatives in the province.
Free State farm murder – latest news:
Mazibuko’s death marks the second major farm murder within five days in Free State. Sakkie and Ina van der Berg, who were landowners in the rural community of Boshof, were confirmed dead when law enforcement arrived at their homestead. The couple were both in their sixties.
Although authorities have kept their cards close to their chest, we understand that the victim “had his throat cut” in the Frankfort attack. A number of suspects have since been apprehended by the police, but local representatives of the DA feel this is all too little, too late.
Bring back The Commandos?
Mariette Pittaway is the party’s Free State Spokesperson on Health and Social Development. She rued the fact that no established safety unit has been implemented for South African farmers, and called for the re-introduction of “The Commandos”: A branch of the police disbanded in 2003, which she believes will help tackle the farm murder rate:
“The Democratic Alliance is concerned by the heinous murder of yet another farmer in the Free State – Mr Johannes Mazibuko – an emerging farmer from Frankfort. In 1998, Nelson Mandela included The Commandos in a rural security plan, and ‘encouraged farmers, especially white farmers, to join the commandos and help in rural protection’.”
“The party extends its heartfelt condolences to family and friends of the Mr Mazibuko. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. Last month, we launched a national campaign on rural safety, urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the protection of rural communities.”
Farm murder numbers in South Africa
Recent estimates claim that “at least” 60 farm murders have occurred during the calendar year of 2019, with more than 200 separate attacks also being registered. The numbers seem to be increasing from the 2017/18 financial year, with 62 murders tallied up by SAPS in their official crime stats.
ANC provincial leaders – such as David Makhura and Job Mokgoro – have recently confirmed they will be stepping up their efforts to combat these crimes, but support from national government remains lacking.
#FarmMurder 18/7/2019: Frankfort District, Free State. Elderly upcoming farmed (71) was attacked by 6 suspects and had his throat slit. One of the suspects was found with cattle stolen from the victim, eventually leading police to the body. pic.twitter.com/hjewiHeVDh
— Ian Cameron (@IanCameron23) July 21, 2019
(Source: The South African)