IN PICS | Bheki Cele visits home of murdered farmer Brendin Horner
The family of slain farm manager Brendin Horner, whose brutal death led to outrage and sparked racial tensions, hope his death will bring peace and stability in the farming community and in the country.
The sentiments were expressed by family spokesperson Gilly Scheepers on Tuesday after a visit by the government's justice, crime prevention and security cluster (JCPS).
“We really appreciate the visit and we really hope it will bring a turning point in the tension in this area. It is unfortunate but maybe the loss of a young man’s life will bring peace and stability in the farming community in SA,” said Scheepers.
Police minister Bheki Cele and his state security counterpart Ayanda Dlodlo were accompanied by high-ranking officers in the Free State for the visit. They affirmed their responsibility in ensuring the safety of all people in their homes and places of work.
Horner was found beaten, strangled and tied to a wire fence about 100m from his family home on October 2 2020.
Horner, 21, was killed one year to the day after he began working for the Scheepers family at Bloukruin Boerdery, close to the small Free State town of Paul Roux.
Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, appeared in the Senekal magistrate's court last Tuesday for Horner's murder, with angry protesters and farmers calling for justice.
The cluster assured the family that the government was doing everything in its power to ensure that justice prevailed for the young man and other victims.
“Government takes rural safety seriously, which is demonstrated by the recent establishment of the national and local joint rural safety command centres agreed to between the SAPS and the farming sector.”
While the two are to return to court soon, the police called for calm after violence flared up during the last court proceedings.
“Government appeals to the community to be calm during this period and to allow the law-enforcement agencies an opportunity to do their job. By acting within the law, citizens can make our communities safer and more secure. Irrespective of how angry or unhappy any person or community is, the law cannot be taken into one’s own hands,” the JCPS cluster said in a joint statement.
Though 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.
“Members of the public are encouraged to assist SAPS members in performing their duties by joining community policing forums, which ensure constant liaison between communities and the police. Responsible and active citizenry is the bedrock of any democracy and ensures the protection of human life and property.
“Government condemns the violence and takes a dim view of those who murder other human beings. This extends not only to farmers and farm workers but to members of society in general.
“Farmers and farm workers are the backbone of our economy and nothing can justify the criminal activity associated with these attacks and killings.
“These senseless killing of farmers and their workers affects all South Africans and threaten food security, employment, economic growth and job creation,” the cluster said.