Tensions high as early morning Senekal protests start

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EFF members gather in Senekal on Friday morning, 16 October 2020, ahead of the appearance of two suspects accused of Brendin Horner's murder at the local Magistrate's Court. Picture: Jacques Nellis

Tensions are high and police visibility even higher as thousands of protesters from various organisations and political groups take to the streets of Senekal on Friday morning.

The Citizen reports, the protests follow the death of a young farm manager, Brendin Horner, who was brutally murdered. Two suspects, Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, arrested in connection with his death will appear in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court today.

EFF members arrive at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning, 16 October 2020, ahead of the appearance of two suspects accused of Brendin Horner’s murder. Picture: Jacques Nellis

During their first court appearance on Tuesday last week, a protest by farmers and farming organisations turned violent as some members tried to storm the holding cells in order to gain access to the accused. A police vehicle was also overturned and burned, while the court building was damaged.

This morning, all roads leading to Senekal were blocked off with police searching every vehicle entering the town.

In town, curious and nervous residents stand grouped on the street corners and peer out of their balconies to get a glimpse of the protests currently taking place in the streets.

EFF members arrive at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning, 16 October 2020, ahead of the appearance of two suspects accused of Brendin Horner’s murder. Picture: Jacques Nellis

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Around the Senekal Magistrate’s Court, police has closed off streets before Horner’s murder accused make their second court appearance.

Economic Freedom Fighters members started protesting in the street allocated to them from before 7am, singing various struggle songs and blowing on whistles as the sea of red moved up and down the street.

By this time the first police helicopter started circling the area.

EFF members arrive at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning, 16 October 2020, ahead of the appearance of two suspects accused of Brendin Horner’s murder. Picture: Jacques Nellis

Strict measures are being implemented at court with limited access being granted.

Protesters from the Unite Against Farm murders and attacks, AfriForum, as well as the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) are all expected outside the court.

This is a developing story.

Marizka Coetzer / The Citizen