Police nab farm attack suspects in just 2 hours

2013-11-20 00:00

TWO hours after farmer Christoff Britz was attacked on his Bergville farm, the police were able to arrest five suspects connected to the attack.

On Monday evening, Britz got home and was confronted by five armed men. They assaulted him, tied him up and left him in one of the rooms along with his domestic worker.

The men stole firearms and Britz’s vehicle.

But they didn’t count on Britz’s vehicle having a tracking system that eventually pointed police in their direction.

Captain Thulani Zwane of the SAPS said: “After the suspects left, the farmer managed to get help from other employees on the farm and police were called in.

“They found the abandoned stolen vehicle and then followed up on information about four getaway vehicles that had allegedly been used by the suspects to escape.”

Britz was taken to hospital for injuries sustained in the attack.

According to police, the domestic worker claimed that she had been cleaning the house when the suspects entered the house.

She was surprised and when she could not tell them where the firearms and money was, they tied her up and left her in a room.

However, the domestic worker has since been arrested.

Two of the getaway vehicles were spotted and stopped.

“In total four suspects were arrested inside the two vehicles. One of the suspects was found in possession of the farmer’s jacket and several rounds of ammunition. Police are still searching for the other two vehicles and suspects,” said Zwane.

Koos Marais of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (KwaNalu) security desk was grateful for the speedy capture of the suspects.

“KwaNalu is disturbed by yet another farm attack in KZN. We believe that the government needs to take a serious look at this. Farm attacks result in the loss of food production and jobs, something this country can ill afford,” said Marais.

He hoped that the justice system would make an example of these suspects: “The justice system needs to send a strong message to would-be farm attackers that this will no longer be tolerated.”

Bruce Shepherd, chairperson of the Bergville Farmers’ Association, said: “Bergville is largely a peaceful community. In September Mr and Mrs Braithwaite were robbed while in their home, and on Monday evening, Mr Britz was attacked and robbed. In both instances the Bergville SAPS made arrests within hours.

“The Bergville Farmers’ Association has a very good relationship with the police and we are very grateful for the work that they do in the community.”

The five suspects will appear in the Bergville Magistrate’s Court this week for several charges including house robbery.

Britz declined to speak to The Witness but extended his thanks to the police, the community and his farm workers, who kept the farm going in his absence.

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