Western Cape cabinet to discuss recent spate of farm attacks

Farm attacks Source: Google Images

A meeting of the provincial cabinet will today discuss the issues of rural safety and farm attacks, following a spate of attacks in the last few weeks.

On Monday, senior political leaders in the province including Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz and Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer called for the establishment of specialised SAPS rural safety units, and barely a day later a woman was hospitalised after she and her family were attacked on their farm in Klapmuts, near Paarl.

According to sources, the attack happened after the woman’s husband, named only as Mr Van der Westhuizen, left the house. The attackers, wearing balaclavas, smashed a window to gain entry into the farmhouse and assault the woman with the butt of a gun.

Emergency medical service paramedics arrived on the scene at 6.30am and found the woman and her two children inside.

ER24 communications officer Russel Meiring said: “Paramedics assessed the three and found that the two children had escaped injury, while the woman had sustained a moderate head wound. The woman was treated for her injuries and thereafter transported to a nearby private hospital.”

Meyer visited the Klapmuts farm on Tuesday and spoke with Van der Westhuizen. “When she wouldn’t tell them, they attacked her. She then managed to phone her husband, who in turn phoned the neighbours who raised the alarm. The attackers then fled on foot,” he said.

On May 13, wine grape producer Tool Wessels of the farm Kapteinsdrift, near Bonnievale, was killed after he and his wife were tortured in a farm attack. Stefan Smit, owner of Louiesenhof Wines near Stellenbosch, was killed on his farm on Sunday night. A number of attacks on other farms were reported last month.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, Fritz met with Western Cape Police Commissioner General Khombinkosi Jula, who assured him police were investigating the killing of Smit.

A spokesperson said “MEC Fritz wants to speed up the process by linking farm watches and neighbourhood watches” to establish a network of safety for  rural communities.