Eastern Cape farming couple murdered in front of teenage son

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Duncan Alfreds, News24
  • An Eastern Cape farming couple - Takayina April, 66, and his wife Nontembiso April, 56 - was shot dead on their Draaifontein farm on Friday in front of their horrified teenage son.
  • Two men pretending to be looking for their lost sheep approached the couple while they were working in their garden and opened fire. 
  • Their son fled to seek refuge at a neighbouring farm. 

An Eastern Cape farming couple - Takayina April, 66, and his wife Nontembiso April, 56 - was shot dead on their Draaifontein farm last Friday in front of their horrified teenage son.

According to a joint statement from two farming associations and a civic organisation, the incident happened amid a long-standing land dispute in the area which the couple was actively trying to resolve.

In a joint statement this week, the Cala University Students Association (Calusa), Siyazakha Land and Development Forum as well as the Inyanda National Land Movement called on the police to speedily bring the perpetrators to book.  

"In the immediate term, we call upon the law enforcement agencies not to only investigate this heinous murder of the April couple, but to also provide protection to the remaining family members and other farm dwellers who are struggling for their land rights.

"We also call upon the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to assist the family members and farm dwellers in similar positions to gain undisturbed land rights to the land they utilise on the farm.

"As Calusa and associated civil society organisations, we promise to honour the lives of the April family by carrying on with the struggle for land justice, equality and dignity that they were part of,” the group said in a statement.

ALSO READ | Four people arrested for Hennenman farm murder, one found dead in police custody

It added the couple was gunned down by two unmasked men while working in their garden on Friday morning.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said the motive for the killings was unknown and they would not speculate on it.

"According to information at the police's disposal, two unknown men entered the farm pretending to be looking for their sheep. While the owner of the farm was responding to one of the suspects, [he] drew firearm and started shooting. Both the husband and wife, 66 and 56, respectively, were fatally wounded and the suspects fled on foot," added Soci.  

He said the police were investigating two murder cases.

The farm is part of a cluster referred to as Beestekraal farms in the Sakhisizwe municipal area.

Calusa said in a statement the couple was shot in front of their 19-year-old son, who ran and sought assistance at a neighbouring farm.

It is not known what the motive for the shooting was.

The group added nothing was taken from the farm, fuelling speculation that it was a hit.

"Indications are that this was not robbery given that nothing was taken from the family house. All that we can say is that the April family and other farm dwellers in the area were and are engaged in ongoing battles for their rights to land they have lived on for decades and where their dead are buried. Mrs April in particular has been a formidable activist in the struggle for democratic governance and equitable access to land for all throughout South Africa," it added.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
With Faf de Klerk out injured, who should start at scrumhalf for the Springboks against Wales on 6 November?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Herschel Jantjies
35% - 1127 votes
Cobus Reinach
61% - 1977 votes
Grant Williams
3% - 112 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.