Stellenbosch and the surrounding farming communities are reeling after the murder of prominent strawberry farmer Jeffrey Zetler. Picture: Supplied.
Cape Town - Stellenbosch and the surrounding farming communities are reeling after the murder of prominent strawberry farmer Jeffrey Zetler.

“A big oak tree has fallen in the Stellenbosch community,” said Stellenbosch Mayor Gesie van Deventer after learning of Zetler’s death. Zetler, 62, was stabbed to death in an alleged robbery at the Mooiberge strawberry farm, on the corner of the R44 and Annandale Road on Saturday afternoon.

His brother Dennis Zetler, said the family was still shocked by the incident.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said according to reports Zetler had paid out wages to the staff and provided the workers with transport.

Van Wyk said as Zetler was driving out and climbing out of the car to open the gate he was attacked. “The witness noticed a white Toyota Quantum that followed them. Two unidentified men approached the victim, one brandished a firearm and the other suspect wielded a knife.

“The suspects threatened the victims and instructed them to get out out the vehicle. The suspects instructed the deceased to go to the office and demanded the keys to the safe and for him to unlock the door. The suspects robbed the victim and stabbed him with a knife. They then fled the scene with their vehicle,” he said.

Police are investigating a business robbery and murder case.

ER24 spokesperson, Ineke van Huyssteen said on arrival at the farm they found a member of a security company performing CPR on Zetler.

Dennis said his brother was murdered on his wife’s birthday. “She is struggling,” he said. Zetler is survived by his widow and two children. He said prior to this incident, Zetler had been robbed on the farm at least four times.

“We believe this was a calculated thing. The weak point of farms is that they are storing cash on the property. These attackers wanted money only,” he said.

Zetler was described by his brother as the pillar of the family.

“He was doing everything on the farm, taking care of operations, payment of salaries and was the driver on weekends.

“We employ about a thousand people on the farms; creating jobs but this is what we get back - being killed. The state is doing nothing about it,” said the grief-stricken brother.

Dennis said there was no indication of when the farm would open to the public. He said the family was still to make funeral arrangements.

Van Deventer said: “He was an entrepreneur giving work to hundreds of people from around Stellenbosch and Cape Town. These people have taken jobs away from our residents. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends.”

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies expressed its condolences.

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Cape Argus