From the news desk

Three killed on WC farms in less than a week

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Just a week after MEC Alan Winde met with the Philippi Horticultural Area to address the community’s concerns of crime and safety, another farm attack has claimed the life of a newly-wed man.

On Sunday morning 12 men approached the Kleinensorgen farm in Phillipi, Cape Town, under the pretense of being buyers of produce. The men then drew weapons, with two carrying AK-47’s, demanding money from the safe on-site.

Farm-owner Johan Terblanche said R10 000 was taken from the safe. When the robbers were dissatisfied with the amount, a scuffle ensued to put the farm owner and workers into a cold room, resulting in the death of Nicholas Strydom who was shot three times in the chest.  The 31-year old had last week officially married the mother of his three children aged 12, 9 and 2.

Last Monday, community safety MEC Alan Winde, social development MEC Albert Fritz and ward councilor Elton Jansen visited Schaapkraal to discuss the concerns of the community.

Chairperson of the Phillipi Horticulture Food and Farming Campaign Nazeer Sonday said the meeting came after 10 years of lobbying, demanding, picketing and networking to put the plight of farmers in the area on the agenda.

Sonday said this was the third time this year that Johan Terblanche’s farm, where Strydom was killed, has been targeted.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said the suspects fled in a white Toyota Avanza vehicle and a white Volkswagen Golf. After police and Farm Watch members were activated, two suspects, aged 33 and 35 were arrested, while another suspect was shot dead in pursuit. A white VW Golf was seized.

Sonday said the response from surrounding communities such as Grassy park and Pelican park was comforting.

The latest attack comes five days after an elderly couple was killed in their bed on their farm in Bonnievale in the Langeberg area of the Western Cape.

Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said on December 14, police found the couple after coming across an abandoned vehicle along a dirt road. After originally saying they had been shot, SAPS on Sunday had said the victims were hacked with a sharp object.

Potelwa confirmed that police later arrested a 33-year-old suspect for the murder of Piet and Elmien Steyn, after being found in possession of one of the couples’ stolen property. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

According to the latest Crime statistics for 2017/18, 108 farm attacks have occurred within the last year, with 63 resulting in murder. Despite only accounting for 0.3% of the total murder rate in South Africa, these attacks provoke a strong reaction from the public, given its violent nature and overall impact on food security.

ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs also condemned the spate of attacks, having said each assault on the farming community is one against the country and also food security.

“Every attack on a farm is an attack on our country. Each loss of life in these criminal attacks is regretted and is mourned. We call on all our people to stand together to defeat these criminals,” said Faiez.

Sonday reiterated that the racial connotation to these crimes is false and that crime affects the whole community, critizing those who refer to the attacks as “anti-white”.

At the meeting held with community representatives last week, Winde made a commitment improve security by investigating the use of drones, as well as to establish a temporary law-enforcement station in the Phillipe area.

Sonday said community forums will also be formed to increase security and deal with the underlying causes of crime.

The campaign has established a donation drive for the family of deceased Nicholas Strydom.

You may contribute via the following FNB Business Account:

Account number: 62605690199

Branch: 250655 / Mybranch

Reference: Nikolaas

VOC/ Tauhierah Salie


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