Home News Elderly couple survive KZN farm attack

Elderly couple survive KZN farm attack

The new year is off to a bloody start for the agricultural community. An elderly couple were attacked on their farm in KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast. Just 11 days ago, a 77-year-old farm foreman was also tortured on a Free State farm

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Less than two weeks after a 77-year-old foreman was tortured on a Free State farm, an elderly couple from KwaZulu-Natal was attacked on the farm on which they have lived for 40 years.

Last night, KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker told Food For Mzansi that a case of house robbery is being investigated by the police in Umkhomazi.

Eric Nunkoo (80) and his wife, Sona (73), was attacked on Friday, 22 January 2021, although details are only now beginning to emerge.

Naicker says, from what he has learnt, unknown assailants fled the scene in the elderly couple’s vehicle after robbing them of a TV and some cash. While further detail remain sketchy, Food For Mzansi has established that the couple were badly injured with Sona Nunkoo forced to undergo surgery earlier this week.

“I would like to reiterate that an attack on a farmer is an attack on the country’s food security,” said the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza. “Their role is very important (in) ensuring a sustainable food production for the nation and the continent at large.”

“Farm attacks rob the nation of much-needed skills, wisdom and expertise.” – Sandy La Marque, Kwanalu

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This is the second attack on a KwaZulu-Natal agriculturist in less than two months. In November last year, the 80-year-old Mpozana Khumalo was brutally murdered while tending to his livestock with his son.

Eleven days ago, an elderly farmer from Zastron in the Free State was also attacked by three men. Simon Makhotha, foreman of the Harrisdale farm, was stabbed, kicked and nearly drowned in a septic tank. After a night of torture, Makhotha was reportedly tied to a tree and shot. He spent three days in hospital fighting for his life.

‘Food security risk’

Sandy La Marque, chief executive of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, told Food For Mzansi that farm attacks rob the nation of much-needed skills, wisdom and expertise.

Sandy la Marque is the CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Land Union (Kwanalu). Photo: Supplied
Sandy la Marque is the CEO of Kwanalu. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“It is impacting investment and sentiment,” she said last night.

“Kwanalu is addressing this serious onslaught of crime against the agricultural sector in the province and calls on government and stakeholders to take action now.”

Didiza has also called on law enforcement agencies to do everything in their power to apprehend the criminals in the most recent attack on the Nunkoo farming couple.

The Post reported that Eric Nunkoo just sat down for dinner when they were attacked.

Journalist Charlene Somduth spoke to Vis Moodley who said, “My mother-in-law was in their bedroom. She’d just had a bath.

“While eating, he my father-in-law) heard their dogs bark and when he opened the front door, three men were there. They wanted to buy mealies and when he said he did not have any, they asked for cabbage.”

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

Nunkoo was attacked before he could even respond, said Moodley. The three suspects demanded a firearm from the 80-year-old Eric after also assaulting his wife, Sona, who fractured her hip during the ordeal.

Moodley said, “He told them he did not have a firearm and gave them whatever cash he had in his pockets. The suspects took three cell phones, the television, and the keys to the van. Before fleeing, they locked them in the home.”

21 shots fired

Besides the attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, a North West farmer was also targeted three days ago. Johanna van Heerden, a sheep and cattle farmer outside Makwassie in North West, survived after attackers fired at least 21 shots at her bakkie.

Johanna van Heerden, a sheep and cattle farmer outside Makwassie in North West, survived after attackers fired at least 21 shots at her bakkie. Photo: Facebook/Oorgrens Veiligheid
Johanna van Heerden, a sheep and cattle farmer outside Makwassie in North West, survived after attackers fired at least 21 shots at her bakkie. Photo: Oorgrens Veiligheid

In October last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa pleaded with South Africans not to use farm attacks and murders to stoke racial hatred.

This was in response to the killing of a Senekal farm foreman, Brendin Horner, which caused an outcry.

“What happened in Senekal shows just how easily the tinderbox of race hatred can be ignited.

“We must resist any attempts to use crime on farms to mobilise communities along racial lines. Killings on farms are not ethnic cleansing. They are not genocidal. They are acts of criminality.

ALSO READ: A dangerous melting pot of violence and opportunity

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Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
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