Five arrested for murder of Boshof farm couple to appear in court

Farm land. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
Farm land. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Five people who allegedly killed a couple in their 60s on their farm in Boshof in the Free State, are expected to appear in court on Thursday. A sixth suspect is still at large.

Brigadier Sam Makhele said in a statement that the five people were arrested in Bloemfontein and Dealesville during a 72-hour joint lockdown by the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Hawks.

"On Friday at about 17:00, Isak Johannes Jacobus (Sakkie) van den Berg, 67, left to take a worker back to town, leaving his wife, Ina Ockenlina, 61, at home," Makhele said.

"On the way back to the farm, he stopped to open his farm gate when he was allegedly overpowered by six suspects. He was then taken back to his house where, together with his wife, [he was] tied up, brutally beaten and shot. They both died at the scene."

Makhele said the attackers ransacked the house and stole several items, including four firearms, which were later recovered in the mud along the Caledon River bed en route to Lesotho.

The two firearms will be sent for forensic testing to establish who owned them and whether they were used in the commission of other crimes.

The five people are expected to appear in the Boshof Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of murder, the possession of unlicensed firearms, aggravated robbery, the theft of a motor vehicle and theft.

READ: Survivor of cruel farm attack: 'We felt like wild animals being hunted'

Sergeant Wendy Nkabi earlier told News24 that police were still piecing together information, but said that two people, who were not known to farmworkers, were spotted on the property on Friday before the murders.

Nkabi said Van den Berg had given the worker a lift from the farm Bloubos to Boshof and as they were leaving the farm, he asked the employee about two apparent strangers walking on the farm. 

The employee did not know who they were either. 

Van den Berg returned home alone and the police surmised that the attack started at two large gates close to the farmhouse. 

"They found the two deceased in the kitchen," Nkabi said, adding that the alarm was raised when Van den Berg did not keep to his usual routine. 

"It seems like every morning he goes to pick someone up," she said. 

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