'Old wounds' reopened at farm safety meeting with Bheki Cele
Durban - FOUR more suspects are being sought for the murders of KwaZulu-Natal farmers Glen and Vida Rafferty, who were killed in the Newcastle area last month.
Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed this on Monday when he met the farming and Newcastle community policing structures at Normandien Hall.
The meeting followed his visit on September 2, as part of the National Rural Safety Strategy. During the meeting, farmworkers and those living around farms told Cele of being exploited by farmers. They also claimed their reports to police were not taken seriously.
Normandien Farmers Association chairperson Roland Collyer described the meeting as “scabs being pulled off old wounds”. He said farmworkers had brought up previous issues that were dealt with by courts.
“It was a day where old wounds were opened. Incidents that happened many years ago were brought up. The farmers were portrayed in a negative light. We await Bheki Cele’s feedback meeting,” he said.
Cele said a delegation would return in 14 days with an update and what steps would be taken to bring peace and stability to the area.
Siyabonga Goodman Macu, 29, appeared in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court yesterday, in connection with the murder of the Rafferty couple on August 29.
They were shot dead on their farm in Normandien. Security guards found their bodies the next day while patrolling.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Kara said Macu faced two counts of murder, and charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and conspiracy to commit robbery.
“The matter has been postponed to September 28 for a formal bail application. The State is opposed to bail,” Kara said.
Family spokesperson Tamsyn Rafferty said Macu's remand was a good first step.
“We are confident all the perpetrators will be brought to justice soon. We’re grateful for the continued hard work and support of the SAPS, who have been excellent,” she said.
Collyer said the man accused of being involved in the couple’s murder worked on the farm previously. He said farmers were facing stock theft issues.