5 due in court today for Hartswater triple farm murder

Recent farm attack victims include (pictured left) Elzabie and Breggie and Brand from Hartswater in the Northern Cape, and Zakiyyah Ahmedjan Ismail (on the right) from Weenen in KwaZulu-Natal. Photos: Facebook

Five suspects arrested in connection with a triple farm murder in the Northern Cape is set to appear in court today following the abduction and murder of an elderly couple and their 50-year-old daughter.

The suspects – aged between 18 and 42 – will appear in the Hartswater Magistrate’s Court and face three charges of murder, kidnapping and robbery. This as the agricultural sector struggles to come to terms with the brutal attack on Breggie (73), Danie (83) and Elzabie (54) Brand, reportedly as they were about to have their Sunday lunch. Their bodies were found 30km from their farm home.

Agri Northern Cape president Nicol Jansen. Photo: Supplied

Agri Northern Cape has become the latest to condemn the attack, describing it as “barbaric and unscrupulous”. The agricultural body tells Food For Mzansi that there can be no justification for it.

“No area is safe, and no one can afford to scale down contingency plans for safety. Government will have to exercise its basic responsibility with regard to security and maintenance of law and order with firm action,” says Agri Northern Cape president Nicol Jansen.

The crisis of farm attacks can be averted through a unified approach, says Jansen. “The police need the help of communities organised within structures for rural and community security. Agri Northern Cape offers an established structure with the co-operation of police at provincial and national levels.”

READ MORE: ‘Everyone on a farm is a victim or potential victim’

Jansen adds, “Community members must contact their local agricultural unions and agricultural associations to become part of their community safety initiative to increase resilience.”

Warning against ‘biased information’

Agri Northern Cape also warns against biased information from certain groups set on inciting further tension. “This tension is fueled by ill-considered remarks and comments on social media. It takes place within South Africa’s uncontrolled levels of crime and lawlessness. This culture lives on in the rising levels of unemployment, poverty and especially moral decay.”

The government urgently needs to apply an approach of “no tolerance” to lawlessness and crime, Jansen believes. “The rural areas must increase their security and preparedness. Farmers and residents must realise that this wave of violence, hatred and neglect of human life is spreading to previously ‘safer’ parts of the country.”

“To murder a pregnant woman. Who does that? You tell me? Who? That is not a human.” – Ayoob Ahmedjan

Mase Manopole, Northern Cape MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs, land reform and rural development. Photo: Soraya Crowie/Supplied

TLU SA says since the scaling down of alert levels there has been an increase in farm attacks throughout the country. “The nine attacks this (past) weekend confirmed our observation that the decrease in violent crimes on farms during the first week of the lockdown was short-lived,” says deputy president of TLU SA, Henry Geldenhuys.

Northern Cape MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs, land reform and rural development Mase Manopole has, again, conveyed further messages of condolences to the Brand family and the province’s greater agricultural community.

She commended the swift action by police which led to the arrest of the four suspects, saying the attack will not deter the progress of the rainbow nation project currently underway in the province. “We are at an advanced stage of uniting the people of the Northern Cape and will not be prevented by an act of criminality perpetuated by greed.”

Online petition calls for slain KZN farmer

Meanwhile more than 7 800 people have signed an online petition called justice for Zakiyyah Ahmedjan Ismail, the four-month pregnant KwaZulu-Natal farmer murdered at the beginning of July 2020. She was killed after three masked assailants gained entry into their home, demanding valuables. In protecting their children, her husband, Ayoob, was severely beaten while his wife was slit by the throat.

The family now demand justice. On the Change.org petition page, Ayoob is quoted as saying, “I want the minister of police and the government to get justice for my family and my child. I can’t get her back. She is gone, but I want justice. To murder a pregnant woman. Who does that? You tell me? Who? That is not a human.”

The heartbroken father of two says, “I was born in this country. My father was born in this country. I want justice here. (Police) minister Bheki Cele and pres. Cyril Ramaphosa must know the hurt we are feeling. They must come here and get these criminals.”

READ MORE: Can someone in government please stand up?

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