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Francois Wilken, president of Free State Agriculture (FSA), says the organization strongly condemns the murders that took place on Saturday, 7 August 2021 on the farm ‘Toekoms’ in the Harrismith area. Mgwenika Twala, an emerging farmer, as well as his wife, Selina Maloka, and three children aged 6, 16 and 19 were brutally murdered. They were stabbed several times with a sharp object. The family is one of several living on a farm allocated to beneficiaries by the government in a land claim. The motive for the killings is unknown.
“A safe and sustainable agricultural sector is crucial for food security and such brutal killings where women and children also fall victim to serious violent crimes are strongly condemned and must be fought with the utmost seriousness by the criminal justice system.” says Wilken.
Tommie Esterhuyse, vice-president of Free State Agriculture, thanked the police for their prompt action in that two people had already been arrested for the murders. “The agricultural sector cannot allow such barbaric action against any producer, whether commercial, emerging or subsistence farmers, their families and residents on farms.” says Esterhuyse.
Jakkals le Roux, chairman of FSA’s Rural Safety Committee, urges all producers, including emerging farmers, subsistence farmers as well as settlements where people live, to organize themselves and form part of the Rural Safety Strategy and where possible engage with structures such as Community Policing Forums. It is important that such communities also become involved in effectively addressing the crime wave targeting rural communities together with the police.