The killing of an 85-year-old farmer who was shot dead on the smallholding he lived on, on Saturday afternoon, has rocked the quiet Cramond farming community, near Pietermaritzburg.
According to a close source, Bill Theron, was shot dead at his gate where he lived near Albert Falls Dam, outside Pietermaritzburg.
“It’s another farm murder,” said the angry source who lives nearby and had been to the scene.
He told The Witness that Theron and his wife Christine used to farm eggs but had sold the property three to four years ago but still lived there. Christine was unharmed.
After a heavy rain storm, Theron had walked outside to put his bakkie away after he and his wife had gone shopping earlier in the day. The source said his wife heard a shot and went outside where she found him lying dead at the gate. He was found with his bakkie keys still in his hand.
“There’s no motive, no witnesses, no clues. It’s just like when June Butler was murdered.” Butler (78) who lived in an isolated home at Cramond was stabbed in January 2018 during a break in. She died later in hospital.
The smallholding the couple live on is around 11 hectares.
The source said police were on the scene on Saturday evening. Police are yet to comment on this story on Sunday morning.
On November 27, 80-year-old Mpozana Khumalo, a livestock farmer at Mooi River, died 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.
Quoted at the time, 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.
Chris Pappas, the DA’s spokesperson for agriculture and rural development, said at the time 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.