OFM News reports that on Tuesday, during a meeting with concerned farmers, the police minister, Bheki Cele, reacted to the news that one suspect in the case has been arrested 16 times by the police. The suspect has been arrested nine times for stock theft and convicted four times. He also mentioned that the second suspect in the murder case of Horner was arrested three times, of which once was for stock theft.
The confirmation follows after the Chairperson of the Bethlehem Agricultural Union and Security, Herkie Viljoen, told Cele and State Security Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, that farmers in the area of the Eastern Free State around Bethlehem lose over R1 million to stock theft every month.
Viljoen made a passionate plea with Cele and Dlodlo to act with urgency to curb the issues that have besieged the farming community around this area for years. He said farmers have since 2019 been waiting for a response after they wrote and drafted a report which was sent to Pretoria, meant for Cele and other ministers. Viljoen told Cele and Dlodlo that government cannot continue to overlook the plight of farmers.
During the protest last week, farmers in numbers voiced their concerns about the government’s reaction to farm murders in the Free State and across the country. They accused Cele and the government of not prioritising the farm murders which have recently caused an uproar in the country.
Meanwhile, two men – Sekwetje Mahlamba (32) and Sekola Matlaletsa (44) – accused of Horner’s murder will on 16 October appear in the Paul Roux Magistrate’s Court.