Over a million lost to stock theft monthly – FS farmers

Photo: Blaine Jones
The Free State farmers have detailed their plight to the Security Cluster Ministers, including Bheki Cele and Ayanda Dlodlo, about stock theft, murders, and the ineffective responses from the government.

OFM News reports that this meeting comes after public violence erupted on Tuesday 6 October in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court during the appearance of two men accused of killing farm manager Brendin Horner (21) in Paul Roux.

Chairperson of the Bethlehem Agriculture Union and Security, Herkie Viljoen, says farmers in the area of the Eastern Free State around Bethlehem loses over R1 million to stock theft every month. Viljoen made a passionate plea to Cele and Dlodlo to act with urgency to curb the issues that have besieged the farming community around this area for years. He says farmers have since been waiting for a response since 2019 following 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 their 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.

The meeting with the farmers coincides with the court appearance of André Pienaar (51), accused of malicious damage to property, attempted murder, and public violence. During the protest, a police van was overturned and set alight and court property was damaged. There were also two shots fired inside the court.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Organisation AfriForum’s Ernest Roets mentioned that the reaction of farmers was as a result of the failure by the government to intervene and act against farm murders. He mentioned that the farmers have had enough with farm murders and the slacking of government’s efforts to quell these murders across the country.

Roets told OFM News that the people are angry and very sad at the same time because they regard what happened to Horner as something that might happen to them. He added that the people further regarded the brutal murder of Horner as an attack on their community. Roets further slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa and police minister Bheki Cele over the farm murders happening across the country.

Meanwhile, two men – Sekwetje Mahlamba (32) and Sekola Matlaletsa (44) -accused of Horner’s murder, will on 16 October appeared in the Paul Roux Magistrate’s Court.