TWO men found guilty of killing Ixopo farmer Eugene van der Merwe will spend decades in prison. Thulani Chemane (36) and Busani Shoba (27) were each sentenced to a total of 46 years imprisonment for murder, attempted murder and robbery by the Ramsgate high court on December 11. They were sentenced to 22 years each for murder, 10 years each for attempted murder, 13 years each for robbery and one year for possession of ammunition after they both pleaded guilty to the crime. The sentence was welcomed by the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (KwaNalu) who said it should send a strong message to criminals. Koos Marais of KwaNalu said they were pleased with the verdict and especially the sentence. “We hope that it will send a strong message to would-be perpetrators who obviously have no fear or respect for human life. “The killing of our food producers cannot continue this way,” he said. The two attacked 61-year-old farmer Van der Merwe and his son, Siyanda Ndlovu (13), at their Sunnyside farm on October 9. The father was killed while the critically wounded son was rushed to hospital after being attended to by paramedics at the scene. A case of murder, attempted murder and robbery was opened at Ixopo police station. Members of the Ixopo SAPS Detective Service and Visible Policing unit teamed up to locate and arrest the suspects. One of the arrested men was a former employee of the farm owner. Cellphones that were taken during the attack were recovered from the accused. The provincial commissioner of KwaZulu-Natal, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, welcomed the hefty sentences and thanked the police officers for their work that led to the successful conviction of the murderers.