Free State: Farm murder suspects may have carried out another attack in May

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A couple in their sixties were brutally gunned down during a farm attack this weekend in Free State. Sakkie and Ina van der Berg, who were landowners in the rural community of Boshof, were confirmed dead on Saturday after law enforcement arrived at the property.

The tragic case has caused ire amongst the farming community, who have reiterated their calls for “rural safety units” to be rolled out across the province. Free State encounters its fair share of farm attacks, and the number seem to be on the rise according to the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

Estimates for farm murders in 2019

The party announced that there have been “at least” 60 farm murders during the calendar year of 2019, with more than 200 separate attacks also being registered. The FF+ have made fighting farm murders a priority policy, and we haven’t been able to verify their stats – but nonetheless, it’s an issue that demands government attention.

Two weeks ago, leading ANC figures from North West and Gauteng vowed to step up their campaigns to fight back against rural crime. However, Armand Cloete – the FF Plus MP in National Council of Provinces for Free State – wants his province to follow suit:

“If there had been proactive policing in the district, both these murders could have been prevented. The MEC and the Minister cannot keep ignoring farm attacks. More than 60 farm murders and 217 farm attacks that have taken place in South Africa since the beginning of 2019 serve as proof that farms are being targeted.”

“The MEC now has the opportunity to ensure the safety of farmers, farm workers and other people living in the rural areas by requesting the Minister to establish specialist and intelligence-driven policing units and making the necessary resources available in the Free State.”

Free State suspects linked to another case?

While police continue their investigation into this case, it has been reported that the main suspects might have been involved with a farm murder just two months ago. DA councillor Monica Deniacos and her husband Basil, aged 68 and 74 respectively, were both found dead at their Dealesville home in May.

Although authorities have not confirmed whether the two cases are linked or not, the FF+ have claimed that those behind this crime may have something to do with the Deniacos killings, and have demanded that the Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport Sam Mashinini finds a way to ensure the safety of all local farmers.