Anger over more farm murders

2010-03-02 10:07

Polokwane - Farmers are once again insisting on the reinstatement of the commando system after two more farmers were murdered in Limpopo.

The throat of a Belgian farmer, Etienne Cannaerts, 61, was presumably cut with his own pocket knife on his farm near Lephalale (Ellisras) on Friday afternoon.

In the other incident, Paul Dunn, 49, a farm manager at Constantia Products, a citrus farm in the Letsitele district outside Tzaneen, was shot dead in his home in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Five people were murdered on farms in Limpopo in February.


Theo de Jager, deputy president of Agri SA, said on Monday that farmers in Limpopo are extremely upset.

"People are angry. Many farmers have called me to say they want the commando system to be reinstated countrywide."

TAU SA said in a statement that their farm watch system, which uses green flashing lights during patrols, should be recognised by the police. The police consider the green patrol lights to be illegal and have clashed with TAU SA several times about the matter.

According to Japie Ellis, a farmer from the Lephalale district, Cannaerts was presumably attacked as he was opening his farm gate on Friday after having dropped of his workers. The attackers then drove with Cannaerts in his vehicle to a water pan on the farm.

Ronel Otto, provincial police spokesperson, said the victim’s hands and feet were tied and his throat was cut. "His body was found later that night on an isolated road," said Ellis.

According to Otto, nothing was stolen during the attack.

Gruesome murder

Marco Ruiter, a good friend of Cannaerts, said on Monday that the murder was gruesome. Cannaerts and his wife, Ingrid, had lived on the farm for the past six years.

They don't have South African citizenship.

"Neither his wife nor we want to say anything about the matter. After the post-mortem his body will be taken to Belgium where he'll be buried."

No suspects have been arrested yet.

In another incident, Dunn presumably woke up after three attackers had broken into his house.

Both sides opened fire.

Dries Enslin, chair of Agri-Letaba, said Dunn shot one of the attackers. Dunn was shot in the chest, neck, right arm and back.

According to Otto, the attackers stole various items from the house.

The wounded attacker's blood was found outside the house. This suspect was apprehended on Saturday afternoon by farmers in the area, who used a private helicopter during the search. The suspect is in a hospital under police guard.

Police 'have no control'

Enslin said 12 crime incidents, which include house burglary and vehicle theft, have been reported on farms in the Letsitele district over the past ten days.

"Clearly the police have no control over the situation," said Doors le Roux, chair of the security committee of TAU SA North.

They have requested an urgent meeting with Dikeledi Magadzi, MEC for safety in Limpopo, and Calvin Sengani, police commissioner, to discuss the farm attacks.

Enslin said farmers in the Letsitele area participate in sector policing and have a good relationship with the police, "but much more can be done".

Agri SA will hold a crime conference in Centurion on Monday, where the security situation on farms will be discussed with Nathi Mthethwa, minister of police.