- Evangelist Angus Buchan said the farming community was experiencing some of "the most horrific, the most brutal murders".
- In a video, Buchan asked those angered by the "war-like situation" to turn it over to God and the justice system.
- He said murders on farms come from "the pit of hell" and called for restraint and trust in the authorities.
Evangelist Angus Buchan has called for calm and prayer in the wake of the backlash over the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner in the Free State.
Speaking to his followers in a video posted on Facebook, Buchan said the farming community of South Africa was experiencing some of "the most horrific, the most brutal murders".
"And we know from whence it comes. It comes from the pit of hell," said the farmer whose path to evangelism was told in the film Faith Like Potatoes.
"I'm speaking to all South Africans. We really need to stand and to trust God," said Buchan, who draws masses of people at his prayer meetings around the country.
Buchan's message came after the arrest of two men in connection with Horner's murder. Horner's body was found tied to a pole in Paul Roux in the Free State on Friday, 2 October. The young farm manager's death triggered fear and rage among the farming community.
During a picket outside the Senekal Magistrate's Court on Tuesday for the first court appearance of Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa tensions ran high. A group of men entered the court building and demanded that the men be handed over to them.
Shots were fired, a police vehicle was overturned and set alight and court property damaged.
As a result, the owner of a construction business – who may not yet be named on instruction from the court – appeared in court on Friday on charges of malicious damage to property, public violence, attempted murder and contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy and Terrorism and Related Activities Act.
Fury followed his arrest, with some saying it is inconsistent with how other protesters who damage property are treated.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has been criticised over his handling of murders on farms, and for seemingly refusing to call them "priority crimes". He was taken to task for not quickly issuing a statement on Horner's murder.
In an interview with News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson, Cele stated that murders on farms are a priority for police, and are categorised as serious crimes, along with cash heists, among other things.
President Cyril Ramaphosa started his Monday newsletter by calling Horner's murder an "appalling act of cruelty" but also drew attention to the murders of Mogamad Cloete, Tawqeer Essop and André Bennet who were shot dead while sitting in a car in Delft, Cape Town.
However, a spate of gun-toting has followed on social media, with pictures of weapons being posted by people on either side of the political spectrum.
Buchan said: "I can hear many of you even thinking right now, 'nah, I want blood, I want revenge. Revenge is mine, says the Lord'. We need to be mature, we need to let the Lord undertake for us," preached Buchan, with some of his cattle watching behind him.
"We cannot take up arms, because who are we going to fight? And I want to say something to you – this is nothing but an attack from the pit of hell."
Sounding slightly out of breath after his brush with Covid-19 following a church conference in the Free State earlier this year, he called on people to exercise restraint.
He advised farmers to take precautions to protect themselves, and called for prayer for farmers.
"Because we are in a war-like situation."
He pleaded with people to be patient and calm.
"I really want to plead with you as a fellow farmer, as a father and a grandfather and as a Christian, this is not a time to lose your head. This is not a time to run berserk."
Buchan asked people to trust the authorities and to exercise patience.
"Please be calm."
He called for prayer for the government, the SA National Defence Force and the SA Police Service.
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