Agri SA: Rural farmers need protection
Johannesburg - A rural protection strategy needed to be implemented urgently, the rural safety committee of Agri SA said on Wednesday.
"The swift action of the farming community and investigating officers of Lichtenburg led to the speedy arrest of three suspects in the murder of André van der Merwe, a farmer of Ottosdal, this weekend," said spokesperson André Botha.
He said that government's reliance on the agricultural sector for job creation and stimulation of the rural economy meant that rural protection should be a priority.
"If a safer rural environment cannot be assured now, we will be unable to achieve these ideals, to the further detriment of all who make a living here," Botha said.
He was responding to the murder of North West farmer André van der Merwe on Saturday night.
Ulterior motive considered
"The manner in which Van der Merwe's body was dragged behind a vehicle and maimed, underscores the brutality of these people," Botha said.
Three men, Thabo Matlhoko, 25, Diphapanang Paul Kwa-Kwa, 29, and Shadrack Thapelo Smith, 29, appeared in the Ottosdal Magistrate's Court on Tuesday in connection with the murder.
They would be charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm and ammunition, said the National Prosecuting Authority's North West spokesperson Frank Lesenyego.
Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said on Sunday that although the brutality of the attack might suggest an "ulterior motive", possibly related to "previous issues with the farmer", he could not confirm whether the suspects were known to Van der Merwe.