AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action, Ernst Roets, today pleaded with the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein that farm murderers face the severe punishment their heinous crime warrants. This formed part of Roets’ expert testimony on farm murders in the murder case of Sakkie (67) and Ina (62) van den Berg. The victims were murdered on their farm in 2019 near Boshof in the Free State. Roets was approached by the prosecutor in this case to testify about the extent of farm attacks and farm murders, and the impact it has on communities, families and society at large.
Earlier this week all four accused in this case, Johannes Sekgoro, Thami Terence Kat, Leepile Daniel Sidasi and Daniel Tsekiso Seloane, were found guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Two of the accused (Kat and Seloane) were also found guilty of the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
In his testimony Roets explained that farm attacks and farm murders are already regarded as a priority crime in theory, because it has been declared as such by both the former National Police Commissioner, Khomotso Phahlane, and the current Minister of Police, Bheki Cele. However, Roets explained that this crime phenomenon cannot be described as a priority crime in practice, because an appropriate counter strategy has not been implemented. Against this background, Roets’ plea to the court was to play its role in the prioritisation of these attacks and murders, by punishing the perpetrators severely.
“Punishing these perpetrators severely is a necessary step to convey to the community and family of the victims the message that justice has been served. It will also contribute towards deterring other criminals plotting similar crimes,” Roets says.
“Farm murders do not only affect the immediate family of the deceased, but also society at large. Farms are the lifeblood of rural communities. When we lose our farmers, we also lose our rural communities,” Roets concludes.