The family of 80-year-old Mpozana Khumalo are struggling to come to terms with his death.
The livestock farmer died on Friday last week after undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.
Khumalo had been checking on the family’s cattle, sheep and goats on the farm, Springwater, in the Nkomba area, near Muden, when he was robbed at gunpoint, by two men on Tuesday, November 17.
They took his cellphone and money, and left him tied to a tree.
His son, Robert, said the family rushed Khumalo to Muden Hospital, but were told he needed surgery and would have to be taken to Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.
Initially it seemed that the operation had gone well and Khumalo was sent home to recuperate. Sadly, however, he suffered a relapse and died on November 27.
“We have no idea why someone killed my father. His grandchildren are crying. They don’t understand why this has happened,” Robert said. “We hope the police can find who did this.”
Khumalo’s death has shocked the Mooi River and Muden farming communities.
Describing his death as “another senseless murder”, Angus Williamson, from Mooi River, said: “He was a humble gentleman, who went out of his way to help others and spent his entire life working with livestock.
“Robert too has gone the extra mile, time and time again, to assist people in need, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We as a community at large in Mooi River are saddened and shocked at this terrible incident. Hamba kahle Mkhulu.”
Bheki Ntuli, the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, said the government was deeply concerned about the number of farm attacks in the province.
“We have been engaged in various programme to address issues of security in the farms,” he added. “Last week we had a stock theft summit in Vryheid and the recent visit by the Minister of Police to Newcastle are all evidence that government is taking the situation very seriously.
“As we move to the festive season, farm attacks are among key areas of focus. In this incident, police will not rest till perpetrators are found.”
Chris Pappas, the DA’s spokesperson for agriculture and rural development, said farmers were being attacked and killed at much greater rates than any other group.
“It seems that every week brings another farm attack or murder,” he added. “Given this, the DA remains deeply concerned by the ongoing inaccuracy of rural crime statistics presented by police.“The DA has consistently been fighting for all farmers and farm workers, regardless of race, gender or geographic location.
“This week, we wrote to 10 high profile international human rights organisations in order to bring the plight of our farmers and farm workers to their attention.”
KZN provincial spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele, confirmed that a case of murder was being investigated by the police.