NATIONAL NEWS - Police in KwaZulu-Natal arrested a 33-year-old suspect following a farm attack on Tuesday in the Hidcote, Middlerus area.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the complainant – a farm manager – alleged that the attack took place at around 9pm on Tuesday.
“He was in his house and went to the back door to let the dogs out. As he opened the door, he was hit over the head with a stick,” Gwala said.
She added that the victim saw two men who then forced their way into the house “and one pointed a knife at him”.
“They demanded firearms and money. He had no guns and he was pushed into a cupboard and they drove away with his vehicle,” Gwala said.
The matter was reported to the police and the vehicle was later recovered by K9 Unit in Ladysmith, she added.
“A 33-year-old man was arrested for robbery and will appear in the Mooi River Magistrate’s court soon.”
The incident has led to the Democratic Alliance (DA) calling on the KZN MEC for Agriculture, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi to take action.
DA MP Chris Pappas said the farm manager, who was an elderly man who lived on his own, was hospitalised due to the severity of his injuries.
Pappas said the two alleged attackers wore balaclavas.
He said following the attack, the farm manager took almost over an hour to reach a neighbour for help.
Pappas said the attack on Tuesday came after less than two months after another farm attack in the area.
“This latest act of violence is of extreme concern to the DA. We extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the gentleman concerned,” Pappas said.
He said last month, the DA submitted an urgent request to Sithole-Moloi, requesting that she urgently convene a meeting of the portfolio committee to assess the progress made in implementing the Rural Safety Plan.
“This plan was to have been implemented in 2010.”
Pappas said the DA has also written to the MEC and to the committee chairperson, requesting that they call an urgent meeting with SAPS to evaluate the plan and how it was to be implemented and what progress had been made since 2010.
“Our appeal was dismissed, with the MEC stating that the safety of farmers is not a mandate of her department. Any attack on a farmer, farmworker or rural citizen is one too many and it is a crime that the MEC does not acknowledge this. Given the disdain shown by MEC Sithole-Moloi, the DA in KZN will be seeking assistance from counterparts at a national level,” Pappas said.
The DA suggests that the SAPS should establish a rural safety directorate, and that a citizen band radio network should be subsidised and that rural safety units should be introduced and funded.
“The DA will today write to MEC Sithole-Moloi to request that she and her department make funding available to support farm watches and farm patrols, which are currently doing the work of an under-resourced and under-skilled SAPS.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)