South Africa: 4 family members murdered on Mpumalanga farm

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Polokwane – The farming community is in shock after four members of the same family were shot dead on a farm outside Balfour in Mpumalanga.

The bodies of 48-year-old Louis Smuts, his 42-year-old wife Belinda and his parents, Gert, 78, and Paulina, 77, were found on Modderbult farm, about 20km from Balfour on Tuesday morning, Netwerk24 reported.

All four had been shot in the head.

Their deaths brought the number of people murdered on farms and smallholdings so far this month to 11, said AfriForum’s head of community safety Ian Cameron. There were 30 farm attacks during this period.

AfriForum trauma counsellors were sent to Modderbult on Tuesday to support Louis and Belinda’s shocked children, Marcel, 21, and Cherize, 18.

“They are being forced into adulthood because their family has been wiped out,” AfriForum’s Nantes Kelder said.

Bodies covered

Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said two people have been arrested.

The Toyota Prado in which the attackers fled was found in Balfour.

Wouter Nel, the chairperson of the Balfour Farmers’ Association, said Belinda’s body lay on a couch in the lounge. She had been covered with a blanket, with only her head showing.

Paulina was shot dead in the main bedroom and her body was also covered with a blanket.

The bloodied body of Louis, a boilermaker, was found near the back door.

“They had thrown a black tarpaulin over him,” said Nel.

He said Gert had been killed in a flat in which he and his wife lived, which was about 30m from the main house.

“We suspect that the attack must have happened on Monday evening, because Louis’s cattle weren’t in the kraal as was always the case.”

Government ‘not prepared to protect citizens’

A colleague of Louis, who would get a lift into town with him every day waited for him at the farm’s gate on Tuesday morning. “When he didn’t arrive and also didn’t answer his cellphone, the man climbed over the gate to investigate. The front door was open and that’s when he found the bodies,” said Nel.

Former colonel Sakkie Louwrens of Heritage Protection Group (HPG), a crime-fighting organisation established by former police officers, says the number of attacks on farms and smallholdings has increased drastically in recent times.

HPG works closely with police countrywide.

Cameron said it seemed as if the government “isn’t prepared to protect its citizens”.

“How many more people have to die before drastic measures are taken? Communities will have to, in compliance with the law, start protecting themselves,” said Cameron.

A forensic investigator at the farmhouse outside Balfour in Mpumalanga after the murders. (Supplied)



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