Family's shock after top strawberry farmer slain on wife's birthday
On Saturday afternoon, Zetler was transporting workers home when four assailants in a Toyota Quantum, one brandishing a firearm and another a knife, instructed him to go to his office and demanded the keys to the safe.
The 62-year-old was well known and respected in the agricultural sector and his strawberry farms reportedly produce 60% of the strawberries for the major retailers in South Africa, as well as most of the smaller supermarkets.
ER24 spokesperson Ineke van Huyssteen reported paramedics responded to a scene where a victim died after being stabbed in an alleged robbery on a farm on the corner of the R44 and Annandale road.
Zetler’s older brother, Dennis Zetler, referred questions to Mark Kaufman, a family friend acting as the family spokesperson.
He said the Zetler family had received support from the Stellenbosch community as the murdered father of two was considered a pillar within the extended community
“His wife is receiving counseling from their rabbi, and their daughters and grandchildren, along with the rest of the family, are here to support her during this difficult time. Jeff was working yesterday, on his wife’s birthday. This happened as he was transporting workers home,” he said.
Kaufman said the family were shocked and were in touch with police who were providing them with updates.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said Stellenbosch police officers attended to an armed robbery incident at a farm.
“According to reports, the 62-year-old deceased paid out wages to the staff and provided the workers with transport.
“He was driving the vehicle with employees at the back when they reached the farm gate. The victim exited the vehicle in order to open the gate,” he said.
Van Wyk said the witnesses noticed a white Toyota Quantum had followed them.
“Two unidentified males approached the victim one of them brandished a firearm and the other suspect wielded a knife.
“The suspects threatened the victims and instructed them to get off the vehicle, then instructed the victim to go to the office, where they demanded the keys to the safe and ordered him to unlock the door.
“The suspects robbed the victim of his property and stabbed the victim with a knife. They then fled the scene with their vehicle,” said Van Wyk.
He said Zetler died at the scene minutes later. A business robbery and murder case was registered for investigation.
Anyone with any information about this incident can contact Crime Stop at 0860010111 or Stellenbosch police at 0218095000.