Family hurt in farm attack

2017-04-12 14:27
Bigger, heavily armed gangs make brazen daylight attacks, Kwanula warns.

Bigger, heavily armed gangs make brazen daylight attacks, Kwanula warns. (File image)

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A family, allegedly including an elderly woman and children, were attacked and robbed at gunpoint on their farm near Table Mountain by seven men on Monday evening.

The Table Mountain family were allegedly assaulted by the armed men, two of whom were wearing balaclavas, on Monday evening. The gang fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and other items in the family’s car.

The vehicle was later recovered after the attackers abandoned it in Eastwood before disappearing into the Haniville settlement.

The brazen attack comes weeks after the murder of Thornville farmer Edwin Mapstone (53), who was stabbed and shot during a robbery on his farm in March.

The incident has sparked both concern and outrage from the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu). Their security desk head, Koos Marais, said farm attacks were becoming more violent.

Marais said there had been nine farm attacks and two murders in KZN this year to date.

He said although last year’s figures were similar, the organisation had noticed intruders were attacking farms in much larger groups than in previous years.

He said the organisation had also seen a surge in intruders carrying firearms and using extreme physical violence on their victims.

“They are attacking in larger groups with up to seven people and they are more brazen,” said Marais.

“They are attacking during the day, and in the early evenings when farm staff are still on the property.

“They are using any means of force to achieve their goals.”

Marais urged the farming community to be more vigilant and to take “every security precaution” to stay safe.

He added that it was also important for farmers to communicate with their community and to call for help if they heard or saw someone acting suspiciously.

Umshwathi Farmers Association security division’s Andrew Smith said the farming community were in a “critical situation”.

He urged people to be more aware of their surroundings and said it was important that there was a combined effort between farmers and the police in combating the attacks.

He added that communication between neighbouring farmers was essential in reporting suspicious behaviour and keeping the community alert and informed.

KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said a case of house robbery had been opened at the Cramond police station and the investigation was ongoing.

No arrests have been made at this stage.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  farm attacks

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