File photo: AP

Sabie, Mpumalanga - A farmer was shot dead near Sabie, Mpumalanga, on Thursday morning, police said.

Four armed men accosted Paul Mason, 63, and his wife, Gwyneth Mason, 58, when they returned to their home on the farm Kruisfontein, Colonel Leonard Hlathi told a Sapa correspondent.

“The wife was tied up and placed in the house. They took the husband outside and the wife heard three gunshots. She managed to untie herself and called for help,” said Hlathi.

Minutes later, the police and a private security company arrived to find Mason dead.

The farm's gardener was found tied up and was thrown into a pit toilet. He was saved. The robbers took two laptops, bank cards, four cellphones, jewellery, cash, and several guns.

“We are now investigating cases of murder, armed robbery, and attempted murder,” said Hlathi.

Asked whether the police were linking the attack to that in Hazyview after midnight on Thursday, Hlathi said nothing could be ruled out.

“We cannot deny or confirm. Our investigations are underway in both cases and we cannot reveal the details at the moment,” he said.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, three masked men armed with a shotgun and two pistols reportedly robbed 108 pupils and 10 teachers, from Laerskool Hennopspark in Centurion, Gauteng.

The children, who represent their school choir, were staying at the Aan de Vliet Resort and Guest House outside Hazyview. Hlathi said three of the teachers were robbed.

“The robbers took cellphones, cash, a laptop, and an iPad. After robbing them, the unknown men ran away and police were called. We are now investigating,” said Hlathi.

Sapa