Agri MEC addresses MPLs over #Senekal

Free State MEC of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development William Bulwane. Photo: Facebook
The Free State Agriculture MEC William Bulwane is calling on residents and politicians to refrain from racial slurs and polarisation following Senekal protests that broke out earlier this month.

OFM News reports, addressing members of the Provincial Legislature following the tabling of his department’s performance reports, Bulwane told the House tensions in Senekal and surrounding farming communities are amongst issues still receiving his department’s attention. He confirmed the escalating number of farm attacks and stock theft are amongst those severely affecting food security and the agricultural sector at large.

Bulwane’s statement comes a day after two suspects, Sekwetje Mahlamba (32) and Sekola Matlaletsa (44), re-appeared before the Senekal Magistrate’s Court for the alleged murder of Brendin Horner whose body was found stabbed and tied to a pole in an open space situated at De Rots on Thursday 1 October.

Following the protests that broke out on Tuesday 6 October when protesters stormed the Senekal Magistrate’s Court demanding the two suspects be handed over to them, damage was caused to court property, gunshots were fired, a police vehicle was overturned and set alight. The case against the two suspects subsequently made national headlines and drew much criticism from different spheres across the country, including political parties such as the EFF.

Addressing the House on how the province needs to unite and attend to the plight faced by farming communities, Bulwane echoed Magistrate Deon van Rooyen’s judgment yesterday when he said Horner’s murder case exposed deep-rooted racial and economic divisions, political divisions, as well as mistrust in the police system.

“Politicians and political parties must be careful not to use this incident to advance their political agendas. We have condemned the killing of any farm and farmworkers on any particular farm. We must deal with these issues and not racialise them,” said Bulwane.

Van Rooyen meanwhile, granted Matlaletsa a R5000 bail while he denied Mahlamba bail and remanded him in custody. The case will resume in the same court on 1 December.