Stellenbosch wine farmer embroiled in land invasion wrangle shot dead
A 62-year-old wine farmer whose property was at the centre of a land-grab conflict that made international headlines was shot and killed in front of his wife by four armed suspects on Sunday evening.
Condolences poured in for Stefan Smit from Louiesenhof Wines as news of the attack spread on Monday.
Sincere condolences to the Smit family of @LouiesenhofWine on the passing of Stefan Smit, one of our members. Vinpro strongly condemns violence & the senseless murder of members of the SA farming community, especially our wine producers who help build SA.https://t.co/iHv7Dj23cS— Vinpro (@Vinpro_za) June 3, 2019
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut - who did not name the victim - said the farmer, his wife and a family friend were having dinner at around 7pm when four men, allegedly wearing balaclavas, “entered through an unlocked door and shot and killed him”.
Traut described the incident as a house robbery.
"His wife and a family friend who were present at the time of the incident both survived the attack. The suspects fled with personal belongings and are yet to be arrested."
Louisenhof became embroiled in a land invasion drama in 2018 that featured in the New York Times in an article that investigated the issue of land ownership and inequality in South Africa.
RIP Stefan Smit.— Rouen Smit (@OSlOlSO) June 2, 2019
In one day in South Africa:
- My father on crutches is almost robbed of his phone and wallet
- My uncle is murdered on his farm in Stellenbosch which has been in the family since 1896 😭🙁
Smit was quoted as saying that he “couldn’t breathe” as he watched people invade part of his property. An urgent interdict was obtained to clear structures built on the land and prevent more people occupying it.
This is a developing story.