Hartswater family murders: Slow-moving vehicle protest outside court to oppose bail for accused

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Realeboga Manyedi, Tshepaone Melato, Donald Seoleseng, Kgomotso Mpulwana and Tsepho Visagie. (Anena Burger, Netwerk24)
Realeboga Manyedi, Tshepaone Melato, Donald Seoleseng, Kgomotso Mpulwana and Tsepho Visagie. (Anena Burger, Netwerk24)
Anena Burger
  • Five people accused of murdering three Hartswater family members appeared in court.
  • Outside, community members organised a slow-moving procession of vehicles to oppose bail and rural crime.
  • The organisers also handed in a petition to the prosecutor, in which they oppose bail.

A vehicle protest against farm murders has unfolded in the Northern Cape as five accused made a second appearance in court, in relation to the Hartswater triple family murder.

On Sunday, 26 July, Danie Brand, 83, his wife, Breggie, 73, and their eldest daughter, Elzabe, 54, were allegedly abducted from their smallholding in Hartswater, Northern Cape.

The following Tuesday morning, police discovered the body of Elzabe Brand, in a field in the Taung area, north of Hartswater.

And that afternoon, at around 17:00, the family were informed by police they had found the elderly couple too.

READ | Bodies of elderly Northern Cape parents found after farm attack

Donald Seolesang, 20, Tshepo Visagie, 36, Realeboga Manyedi, 19, Kgomotso Mpumlwana, 43, and Tshepaone Melato, 19, were arrested in connection with the crimes.

They face three counts of murder and kidnapping, regional National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said on 30 July.

The group remained in custody until their bail application, which was due to be heard on Thursday.

At the time, the State gave notice it would oppose bail, given the seriousness of the charges.

It is understood one of the accused will now apply for bail on 27 August, while four of the accused will not apply for bail.

All five were remanded in custody on Thursday.

Outside the court buildings, members of the community of Vaalharts collaborated in a vehicle parade, to oppose bail and protest against violent crime.

Sources on the scene said "hundreds of vehicles" converged on the area, followed an approved route and it was conducted peacefully.

Stefan Smith, chairperson of the Vaalharts District Agricultural Union, told News24: "We represent approximately 400 commercial farmers.

"We organised a slow-moving procession this morning of vehicles, bakkies and cars that drove past the court in Hartswater, where the accused appeared again court.

"We handed over a petition to the prosecutor. In the petition, we ask that they do not get bail, that the maximum penalty be dealt, and that they don't get parole at the end of the day [if found guilty]."

They also demanded the government takes a stand against crime in rural areas - stock theft, farm murders and crime altogether.

The petition has 1 350 signatures.

Smith said they will continue to support the Brand family and continue to oppose bail when the accused return to court on 27 August.

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