‘Outsiders’ blamed for Hluhluwe farm attack

2013-05-22 00:00

A HLUHLUWE farmer drove himself to hospital after he was shot in the chest during an armed robbery yesterday,

Peter-John Hassard, in his 30s, was leaving his farmhouse when five men pounced and shot him at close range.

His father, Peter Hassard, told The Witness yesterday afternoon that his son lost four litres of blood and was in the high-care unit at a local hospital.

“I believe they wanted his car because they didn’t take anything … It’s a miracle [that] he drove himself to the hospital despite the fact that he had lost four litres of blood.”

Hassard believes the attackers were from outside the area.

“We work very well with this community. We assist them in many ways, including building a community hall and school, and we give a hand where necessary.”

Hassard called for more visible policing in farming areas.

While speaking to The Witness, he cut the interview short. “I just received a call to rush to the ICU, so can you phone me [today]? I’ve got to run,” he said.

Attempts to get hold of Hassard late yesterday were unsuccessful. His son’s condition is not known.

Hassard’s neighbour, Casper Badenhorst, said farmers in the area had a good working relationship with the community, from where they recruit workers.

“We feel safe here because we work very well with local people. Some of us speak fluent Zulu and we try and help when the community ask for help.

“Outside forces are behind this,” said Badenhorst.

This is the 18th attack on commercial farmers recorded by the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) since the beginning of the year.

That was four more attacks compared to the same period last year, said Kwanalu’s Koos Marais.

“At least one farmer was killed during this period. The government should be doing more to protect food producers in the country. Of great concern is the fact that criminals seem to be running loose, attacking working citizens, as there’s no police visibility in the rural farming areas.”

Marais said more commercial farmers were looking at moving to other countries where they would be better appreciated.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of attempted murder and armed robbery was under investigation.

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