Family ride 1?000?km in farm attacks awareness drive

2013-09-30 00:00

TO raise awareness of farm attacks, a family from North West arrived in Ballito yesterday after completing a distance of 1 000 km on their quad bikes in memory of a husband and father who died after he was attacked on his farm last year.

The family, part of a group of 500 riders, took part in the “Quads 4 Quads” off-road motorcycle event.

About 500 bikers left Johannesburg on Thursday last week and arrived at Ballito yesterday.

Bernadette Hall (46), whose husband, David Hall, was shot dead in front of her after he was beaten up in February last year, said she was not giving up.

The couple were milking cows on their Frischgewaagd farm, near Fochville in the North West, when they were attacked.

For Hall and two sons Wesley (25) and Bradly (23), this ride was the ideal way to raise awareness of farm killings. They were also joined by a family friend, André van den Berg, and Bradly’s fiancée Melissa van Vollenstee.

Known as Frischgewaagd Dirt Riders, the group crossed about 50 farms where they distributed pamphlets to raise awareness of farm murders.

The group also planted a white cross at Cane Cutters to commemorate the symbolism of the trip.

They are appealing to the minister of police, Nathi Mthethwa, to prioritise farm murders.

Recalling the attack, Hall said five men came to their farm and dragged her husband outside the dairy while they locked her inside.

“They beat him up until they shot him. Then they turned to me and took me to the house and demanded that I give them guns, money and then they took my car keys, tied me up and left,” she said.

She said the experience completely changed her life. Her loss has also broadened her horizon in trying to find ways to curb farm killings, because South Africa is losing food security.

Hall told The Witness that it has always been her and her husband’s dream to be farmers. “But our dream was cut short. But I’m not giving up.” She is continuing with the business.

They also encouraged people in towns they passed through to sign the AfriForum petition for prioritising farm murders, which will be submitted to the Forum for Minority Issues at the United Nations in November.

Weekend Witnes s reported on Saturday that sugar cane farmer Micky Hampson was killed on Friday after he and his son, Murray, confronted two men who had trespassed on their farm in Eston near Mid-Illovo.

The KZN Agricultural Union Security Desk’s Koos Marais said they would like to see police being proactive about these kinds of attacks.

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