Farmer beaten to death, young son badly hurt

2013-10-12 00:00

QUICK police work has resulted in a man being arrested for the murder of a man in a farm attack this week, the second attack on farmers in two weeks and the third in just a few months.

The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) has expressed shock and concern over the escalating number of farm attacks in the Midlands.

Eugene van der Merwe (61), who was living at Sunnyside farm in Ixopo, was beaten to death on Wednesday night. His 13-year-old son was also severely beaten, but survived the attack.

The father and son were only discovered the following morning, said Sunnyside farm owner Donavan English.

“They severely assaulted his 13-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital,” said English.

According to English, the attackers were looking for guns on the farm.

“One suspect was arrested and the other is still at large, but he is known,” he said.

English said Sunnyside farm is in an isolated area and there are no patrols in the area, so it was easy for criminals to gain access.

“Farmers need more police visibility because farms are naturally found in isolated areas,” he said.

English commended the police for arresting one of the suspects within hours.

This was the second attack on a farm in two weeks.

Recently, Weekend Witness reported the death of Micky Hampson (69), who was shot on his farm in Eston.

In August, this newspaper also reported an attack on farmer Lena-Maria Jackson, who was burnt with a hot iron and robbed on a farm at Thornville.

Koos Marais, of Kwanalu’s security desk, said they were shocked at yet another farm murder.

“We are concerned about the increase in farm murder incidents in the KZN Midlands.”

Marais said they were appalled at the ease with which people were murdered.

Marais also commended the work done by the police, but added: “We request the police to be more proactive in policing and patrolling in rural areas.”

Department of Community Safety and Liaison spokesperson Sipho Khumalo said that MEC Willies Mchunu condemned all forms of violence.

“He [Mchunu] views crime as crime, no matter who the victim and perpetrator are.

“In that regard, the MEC urges all the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal, including members of the farming community in the province, to work with police and all other crime-fighting structures to form a united front against crime,” said Khumalo.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said cases of murder and attempted murder were being investigated by Ixopo police.

He said a 35-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident on Wednesday and would appear in court soon.

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