As new detail begin to emerge about a triple farm murder in the Northern Cape, the agricultural sector has united in prayer for the protection of farmers and their workers across the country.
Last night, the police confirmed that the bodies of 83-year-old Danie Brand, his wife, Breggie (73), as well as their daughter, Elzabé (54), been found. They were allegedly kidnapped from a smallholding in Hartswater, 109km from Kimberley.
Mase Manopole, newly-appointed Northern Cape MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs, land reform and rural development, has condemned the attack, saying she was “working closely with various stakeholders, including the police, to put a stop in the killing of farmers.”
In a strongly worded statement, Dianne Kohler Barnard, chairperson of the DA’s rural safety workstream, asks, “Mr President, will you ignore the Brand family farm attack, too?” She adds, “Farm attacks and murders must be taken as seriously as gender-based violence, and highly-trained, specialised units must patrol and prevent these attacks before they occur. Farmers, farm workers, and their families, who work 24/7 to put food on our tables, also have the right to live and work in safety.”
Netwerk24 reports that Cyril Ramaphosa believes justice must take its course following the arrest of five suspects in connection with the murders. Tyrone Seale, acting presidential spokesperson, is quoted as saying that Ramaphosa believes “all murders must be condemned”. Seale says, “It is the president’s view that every murder should be properly investigated and the culprits should be brought to justice.”
Hartswater is located on the border between the Northern Cape and North West. The tragedy comes amid a national outcry against a spike in farm attacks under the national lockdown. Other recent attacks include the murder of Zakiyyah Ismail, a 26-year-old livestock farmer from Weenen, Kwa-Zulu-Natal who was four months pregnant.
The agricultural sector say are disheartened by government’s “deafening silence” about the attacks on farmers and their workers. “Our farming communities live in fear. We have seen a lot of political grandstanding around this matter yet little to no action to demonstrate a tangible resolve to the matter,” says Elton Greeve, managing director of EMG Agri Solutions in the Western Cape.
In a recent Food For Mzansi article Greeve says, “As a black, South African farmer, I am concerned by the government’s inept and callous attitude towards farm attacks and murders. It concerns me that our government sees this as a mere part of politicking, rather than a serious and sad pandemic and social-ill gripping our nation.
“Farm attacks and murders are not about race, neither are they about politics. It is about the lives of men, women and children who live their lives in fear, who despite this, sacrifice their lives and well-being to feed our nation.
Last week, following a parliament discussion, minister of police Bheki Cele said “gender-based violence, political killings and farm attacks were some of the most stubborn crimes that plague the country.”
New detail about the Brand triple farm murder
- Based on blood stains found, there is reason to believe that the Brand family members were beaten inside their house. Elzabé’s body was found 30 minutes further, while her parents’ bodies were discovered at least 40 minutes from the farm.
Joseph Renaud, AfriForum’s head of community safety for the central region, says the Hartswater and Vryburg neighbourhood watches reacted to the call. Vryburg’s watch brought their drone along to help with the initial search for the Brand family. Renaud says, “Effective communication between the drone team with their eye in the sky and other teams on the ground assisted the search tremendously. This is a fantastic, yet tragic, example of how communities can assist each other in times of need and help keep each other safe.”
- The murder scene was only discovered on Monday, but early indications are that the attack took place on Sunday and that the three victims were abducted or, as a worst-case scenario, their bodies were removed from the crime scene.
- Kohler Barnard confirms that the speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, acceded to the DA’s request for a debate of national importance on the scourge of farm attacks and murders across the nation.
- The DA has launched a national watching brief team to stand by the sides of farm victims as they go through the police and court processes.
- Furthermore, the party launched a #StopFarmAttacks petition website containing an open letter to Ramaphosa urging him to apologise “for his past denial of farm murders in South Africa and calling on him to take urgent action in response to farm attacks.”