Elderly KZN farmer assaulted for refusing to offer man a job
Durban - ANOTHER farmer became the latest victim of a robbery and assault at his Harrismith farm on Monday night.
The 81-year-old man sustained multiple injuries during a robbery at Christina Farm in Harrismith, Free State.
The police said that the farmer, David Leslie, was attending to a generator outside the house due to load shedding.
Free State police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo said the day before the incident, a 22-year-old man staying in the area approached Leslie for work.
Mbambo said Leslie then told him that he didn’t have any available employment, and the young man left.
She said it is alleged that on Tuesday night at about 7.15pm, the young man went back to the farm while Leslie was attending to a generator outside the house.
“When he returned to the house, the young man was waiting for him. It is alleged the young man attacked the farmer with a stick,” said Mbambo.
Mbambo said a 56-year-old caretaker staying with Leslie heard the noise and went to investigate.
She said the caretaker found Leslie being assaulted and tried to intervene, but the suspect turned on her. Fortunately, said Mbambo, the farmer’s younger son arrived and managed to restrain the suspect.
“The farmer sustained injuries and was taken to Busamed Hospital and the suspect was taken to Thebe District Hospital in Harrismith,” she said.
Mbambo said the suspect would be charged with housebreaking and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and would appear in the Harrismith Magistrate’s Court soon.
The attack came just days after the murder of a farmer and his wife at the weekend, in Normandien, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
In the incident, 63-year-old Glen Rafferty and his 60-year-old wife, Vida, were killed during a farm attack.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, who visited the Normandien community yesterday, said the police were following strong leads.
According to Cele, since last year there had been seven farm-related murders in the northern part of the province. However, Cele said the police had managed to arrest all suspects in these incidents.
“The consolation we can offer the family is to prevent something similar from happening again,” he said.
Gareth Newham, head of the justice and violence prevention programme at the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), said the killings of farmers raised concerns about the future of the farming industry.
Newham advised that the police rework their rural safety plan to ensure every police station within a rural area developed its own safety strategy for that particular area.