WATCH | Simmering tensions, stock theft & claims of police inadequacy: Inside Brendin Horner's death
The brutal murder of 21-year-old Brendin Horner in the Free State town of Paul Roux led to a fiery protest in neighbouring Senekal on October 6 2020.
Horner was found beaten, strangled and tied to a wire fence about 100m from his family home on October 2 2020.
The young farmer was murdered exactly one year after being employed by the Scheepers family as a farm manager at the Bloukruin Boerdery.
Farm owner Gilly Scheepers suspects that Brendin may have crossed paths with local stock thieves.
"Here is a syndicate that operates in the 40km radius of Paul Roux. If you come in their way, they take you out. I’m not an expert but I think that’s what happened to Brendin, he was at a specific place at the wrong time and the guys who came to steal the sheep took him out," Scheepers says.
A group of around three hundred protesters stormed the small farming town’s courthouse in search of the two suspects in holding.
The two suspects arrested for the murder of young Free State farmer Brendin Horner were caught in Fateng-Tse-Ntsho township just outside Paul Roux.
Paul Roux community leader Johnny Maseko says the two suspects Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, are linked to a stock-theft syndicate in the area.
"It's stock-theft gone horribly wrong," Maseko says.
Maseko, who served a 17-year tenure as chairperson of the Community Policing forum, says the suspects are well known to him and have topped police stock-theft lists for years.
"I worked on that for many many years, trying to nail them down," he says.
Although community members have said the murder is most likely linked to the area's stock-theft syndicate, involvement by political parties such as the EFF and ANC Youth League have seemingly added to brewing racial tensions in the community.
Mahlamba and Matlaletsa will appear again at the Senekal magistrate's court on October 16 2020.
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