Bheki Cele meets KZN farming community after brutal murder of Normandien couple
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Durban - THE north-western KwaZulu-Natal farming community will on Thursday hold a prayer meeting in Normandien, near Newcastle, in memory of slain farmers Glen and Vida Homann Rafferty.
The couple was found dead outside their home on Sunday. Both had been shot in an apparent robbery. Tamsyn Laura Rafferty said her in-laws were wonderful, progressive, generous and deeply religious.
“They were the cornerstones of their community. We are shocked, heartbroken and we cannot comprehend why this happened,”she said.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele visited the family and met the farming community yesterday.
The minister also organised community policing and farming structures. He said since last year, seven farm murders have taken place in KwaZulu-Natal.
Cele said officials would return to Normandien in three weeks to make assessments and to check if the local police station was adequately resourced.
Farmer Janet Greyling Viljoen said they put many questions to Cele regarding their safety.
Sandy Hill said the couple had spent the fateful evening with her and friends in Newcastle.
“We had such a lovely time together. They were anticipating the arrival of their son Nathan and daughter-in-law Tamsyn for a visit. They left town at about 8.50pm to get home before the curfew. My heart is shattered. Vida had been a constant in my life. She had been at my side through every hiccup in my life. She was the most loyal and amazing friend,” Hill said.
Premier Sihle Zikalala called on people to protect farmers from criminal elements.
“Farm killings remain a serious concern in the province. The ongoing killing of farmers goes against the spirit of ubuntu,” he said.
Deputy President David Mabuza is expected to convene the inter-ministerial committee on land reform and agriculture tomorrow.
The meeting is expected to, among other things, focus on the specific programmes aimed at curbing violent attacks on farmers, which has a negative impact on food production and security.
“The lives of farmers, farm workers and farm dwellers as well as every citizen of the country, black and white, matters. It is for this reason that government will continue to work with the justice, crime prevention and security cluster to ensure prevention as a priority in dealing with farm murders,” said Mabuza.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Shadow Minister of State Security, said: “We are in one South Africa together for better or for worse, and we need to stop the race-baiting and focus on keeping our citizens safe, and our agricultural output secure”.
African Christian Democratic Party MP Marie Sukers said people must speak and act against violence, and hatred.
The couple’s funeral would take place on their farm on Saturday.