Widow wants death sentence for farm murderers

2014-09-15 14:49

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Johannesburg - A woman whose husband was killed in a farm attack two-and-a-half years ago called for the reinstatement of the death penalty at public hearings on Monday.

Bernadette Hall, who was speaking at the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) public hearings on farm attacks, was asked what kind of sentence she thought would be appropriate for those found guilty of farm killings.

She hesitated for a few moments before replying: "It's impossible... I personally feel the death sentence, or a really lengthy prison sentence."

Hall said the problem with long imprisonment was that taxpayers had to pay for criminals to be fed and clothed.

"Our tax money is paying for that. I still end up looking after the man that killed my husband."

The SAHRC hearings are chaired by commissioner Danny Titus and are being held in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

AfriForum previously complained to the SAHRC that the police were not doing enough to protect farming communities.

According to AfriForum, 91 attacks on farms and 42 murders on farms have been reported in South Africa since January.

Hall called for police to be better trained in dealing with victims of farm attacks, and in collecting evidence.

Arrest made

Almost a year after her husband's murder the police arrested someone in connection with the crime. The matter was eventually thrown out of court due to a technicality, Hall said.

She said the police questioning and court process was traumatic.

"Every day in court I felt like a criminal."

Hall still lives on her farm, even though there having been five attacks on farms and three murders in her immediate farming community in the past two-and-a-half years.

She has stopped farming maize, because the attackers who killed her husband hid in their mealie field to watch the family before the attack.

She said the police needed to beef up security in rural areas as the country was rapidly losing productive farmers.

Hall said her farming community had organised a patrol to bolster security in their area, but this had been problematic.

"When a farmer leaves his wife and children at home they are sitting targets."

The police are expected to make submissions at the hearings later this month.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  sahrc  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  farm attacks

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