Newsletter – June 2018 - FSA requests special unit after double farm murder in Van Stadensrus

FSA requests special unit after double farm murder in Van Stadensrus 

Bigger government intervention is needed and a special unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS) must be established to investigate farm murders nationally to see if it is organized or not.

This is according to Tommie Esterhuyse, Vice President of Free State Agriculture (FSA), after a senseless double farm murder, which brought the number of farm murders in the Free State to five this year, on 25 June 2018 on an elderly couple from Van Stadensrus.

FSA expresses its sympathy towards the family of Choppie Bruwer (78) and his wife, Marian, (68) who has been murdered and condemn any form of farm attacks and crimes.

According to Esterhuyse, the cruel manner of the murders on a vulnerable elderly people is strongly condemned. “Especially, given the fact that they (the couple) have been producing food for years to people who now make themselves guilty of crimes,” he said. “It justifies greater intervention by government.”

FSA believes the importance of farmers cannot be overemphasized, as their operations have a direct impact on food security and job creation in South Africa.

Esterhuyse says farm murders even justify a commission of inquiry by the authorities.

The Bruwers were attacked and killed by an unknown number of attackers. They were apparently tied to chairs and shot. The attackers stole firearms and fled with the couple’s Silver Chevrolet Spark (registration number FWZ 736 FS). The vehicle has been found. Boet Wilken, Chairman of FSA’s Young Farmer committee who also farms in the area, was one of the first people on the scene.

According to Gerhard Kriel, Chief Executive Officer of FSA, the SAPS investigation is proceeding well. Police are following clues and have already spoken to a few possible suspects. No arrests have been made yet.

Kriel however believes that an emphasis must be placed on a proactive approach to prevent such incidents.

According to the FSA VKB Safety Desk's information, 14 farm attacks in the Free State have been prevented since January this year. This is thanks to good communication networks, between FSA’s structures on ground level, farm guards, farmers and the SAPS as primary role players, where the flow of information leads to the successful prevention of farm attacks and murders.

In 2016 (17 attacks) and 2017 (15) a total of 32 farm attacks in the province were prevented.

An example was last weekend when good cooperation by all role players helped to prevent a farm attack in Koppies. Three criminals were arrested.

“Now, more than ever, is the time for cooperation in agriculture. Within the security structures, with the police and stakeholders. This must be emphasized to prevent attacks and murders on farms,” ​​says Kriel.