Fury over torture, murder of farmers
Scenes of chaos have played out in South Africa where furious farmers have taken to the streets after two brutal slayingsthat have sparked national outrage.
Farmers with 'Boer Lives Matter' banners stormed a South African court and fired shots as they tried to force their way into cells holding two murder suspects.
A police riot van was also tipped over and set alight as thousands gathered outside the Senekal Magistrate's Court in the Free State overnight.
It was there that two murder suspects Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, were set to appear before a judge.
They are accused of torturing and killing 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner, who was tied to a pole and tortured before being repeatedly stabbed and then strangled on remote farmland outside the town of Paul Roux on Friday.
In a separate brutal attack on a farm manager 290km away, a female farm manager was sexually assaulted and strangled by two gunmen at her farm.
And, in a third incident, a gang of nine attackers allegedly threatened to rape a farmer's young children if he didn't co-operate and give them what they wanted.
The string of attacks on white farmers has stoked fury and led to tense scenes on the streets of Senekal.
Police spokesman Brig Motantsi Makhele told TimesLive an "unruly group" of farmers stormed the court building and demanded the suspects be handed over to them.
He said the group damaged court property while forcing their way to the cells.
"Two shots were fired from this group but no-one was injured," he said. "Thus far the situation is tense but under control."
The large group were carrying placards that read "Remember their names" and "Enough is enough".
Farm manager Brendin Horner, 21, was attacked and brutally tortured before being stabbed three times then strangled after being strung up from a pole.
Brig Makhele told local media Mr Horner failed to arrive home after finishing work and was reported missing and was found at 6am the next day murdered.
His blood-soaked body showed horrific signs of torture and multiple stabbings and a knife was found nearby on his cap and he was found strung up to a pole and declared dead.
In a separate attack 290km away farm manager Chantel Kershaw, 44, was ambushed by two armed men as she helped load a lawnmower onto a truck, The Sunreports.
They then held her down and strangled her in the garage of her farm at Delmas east of Johannesburg and left her lying on the ground before pistol whipping her mother.
Distraught mum Greta Spiers, 65, was restrained as the farm was looted and a maid locked in a bathroom before they fled the scene in the family's white Chevrolet station wagon.
Local neighbourhood watch farmers forced the stolen vehicle off the road in a high-speed chase after being alerted by the murdered woman's mum and captured the suspects.
A worker at the farm who was stripped and tied up by the armed raiders was later arrested after the mobile phone numbers of the two arrested men were found in his phone.
The three men appeared before Delmas Magistrates Court charged with armed robbery, theft and murder and were refused bail and have been remanded in custody for trial.
In a third incident, Paul da Cruz, his wife and four children - three girls and one boy aged between 6 and 18 - were attacked on their farm in Westonaria in Gauteng on Friday morning.
Da Cruz told Netwerk24 his children and his wife were directly threatened with rape and he wanted them to undergo trauma counselling as soon as possible.
On Saturday, one of his daughters reportedly asked him what it would look like if she were shot in the head.
Agricultural strategist Dr Jaco De Villiers has described the latest murders as part of a "war against food production" in the country and said that his murder was "slaughter".
He told TimesLive: "How do you murder someone and hang him on a pole for everyone to see? This was a clear message to all farmers. Farm killings have to stop right now."
Dr Jane Buys, safety and risk analyst of Free State Agriculture, told the paper: "The senseless killings cannot be allowed with the brutality in which they are executed.
"It is not clear what the motive for this murder is. There cannot be any justification for killing a person who provides food security. Something has to be done to stop it."
Pressure group Agri SA said that on average a farm where a farmer is violently attacked will be abandoned for up to five years until someone takes it on and restarts production.
They said that means dozens of workers and dependants losing their livelihoods.
AfriForum spokesman Marius Muller who speaks for the civil rights organisation protecting minority groups in South Africa said the farmers need better police protection.
He said, "This is yet another dark day in the history of South Africa for farmers and those with small holdings and the murder of these two farmers was totally unnecessary.
"These were both premeditated and horrific attacks on innocent farmers who look after and care for their workers and whose jobs may now be put in jeopardy by these murders."
Each day in South Africa an average of 60 people are murdered but although the number of farmers killed averages 75 a year, their deaths are usually horrific and brutal.
Their killers often torture their victims and rape the female members in the house before finally murdering their victims.
With additional reporting by Jon Rogers and Jamie Pyatt from The Sun
Originally published as Fury over torture, murder of farmers