Ross Ibbetson and Jamie Pyatt, Daily Mail, October 6, 2020
Farmers with ‘Boer Lives Matter’ banners have stormed a South African court and fired shots as they tried to force their way into cells holding two murder suspects.
Thousands of protesters thronged outside the Senekal Magistrate’s Court in the Free State today as Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, appeared before a judge.
The men are accused of torturing 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner, whose lifeless body was found covered in blood and tied to a post on remote farmland outside the town of Paul Roux on Friday.
Following the latest in a string of attacks on white farmers, up to 3,000 descended on Senekal, with one group turning violent and forcing their way into the holding cells.
A police van outside the court was overturned and set alight and the court building itself was also damaged.
Police spokesperson Brig Motantsi Makhele told TimesLive: ‘Two shots were fired from this group but no-one was injured.’
He added: ‘Thus far the situation is tense but under control.’
Hundreds of cars and tractors are lining the streets of the little town with farmers travelling from across the country to demand justice for Horner.
Videos outside the court show police officers firing stun grenades to disperse the furious demonstrators.
Mahlamba and Matlaletsa’s court matter was postponed until October 16.
Horner’s girlfriend Lenize Taljaard raised the alarm on Friday evening after the young farm worker failed to return home.
His blood-soaked corpse was found by his father Robbie and a colleague Jaco Kleingeld at 6am the following day.
He had been cut multiple times and a knife was found not far from the pole to which his torturers had strung him to.
Gilly Scheepers who owns the farm where Horner was murdered told TimesLive: ‘He was so excited that day, that he was working a year for us, and on that special day he died. His family is taking his death extremely hard.’
Agricultural strategist Dr Jaco De Villiers has described the latest murder as part of a ‘war against food production’ in the country and said that his murder was ‘slaughter’.
He told the paper: ‘How do you murder someone and hang him on a pole for everyone to see? This was a clear message to all farmers. Farm killings have to stop right now.’
Horner’s death came just two days after another ruthless murder of a white farmer just 180 miles away in Delmas east of Johannesburg.
Divorcee Chantel Kershaw, 44, was ambushed by two armed black men while helping to a load a lawnmower onto a truck on Wednesday.
Kershaw’s underwear was ripped off and stuffed into her mouth and she was strangled to death inside her garage.
Her distraught mother Greta Spiers, 65, was bludgeoned over the head with a pistol and she, along with a maid, was restrained as the farm was looted.
The two men fled in the family’s white Chevrolet station wagon but were chased down by neighbourhood watch farmers who forced the stolen vehicle off the road.
The neighbourhood watch, who had been alerted by Kershaw’s mother, captured the suspects and handed them over to police.
A farm hand who was stripped and tied up by the raiders was later arrested after the cell phone numbers of the two suspects were found in his phone.
The three men appeared before Delmas Magistrates Court charged with armed robbery, theft and murder and were refused bail and have been remanded in custody.
Dr Jane Buys, safety and risk analyst of Free State Agriculture, told TimesLIVE: ‘The senseless killings cannot be allowed with the brutality in which they are executed.
‘It is not clear what the motive for this murder is. There cannot be any justification for killing a person who provides food security. Something has to be done to stop it’.
Pressure group Agri SA said that on average a farm where a farmer is violently attacked will be abandoned for up to five years until someone takes it on and restarts production.
They said that means dozens of workers and dependants losing their livelihoods.
AfriForum spokesman Marius Muller who speaks for the civil rights group protecting minority groups in South Africa said that the farmers need better police protection.
He said: ‘This is yet another dark day in the history of South Africa for farmers and those with small holdings and the murder of these two farmers was totally unnecessary.
‘These were both premeditated and horrific attacks on innocent farmers who look after and care for their workers and whose jobs may now be put in jeopardy by these murders’.
Each day in South Africa an average of 60 people are murdered but although the number of farmers killed averages 75 a year their deaths are horrific and brutal.
Their killers often use hot irons, power tools and boiling water to torture their victims and rape the female members in the house before finally murdering their victims.