Community ponders motive behind sword killing

Published Aug 21, 2008


By Angelique Serrao, Kanina Foss and Alex Eliseev

Why would a quiet boy suddenly turn into a sword-wielding killer? This was the topic of debate in the town of Krugersdorp on Wednesday.

All sorts of rumours and theories are circulating, and neighbours met outside their homes wondering went wrong with Morne Harmse.

Satanism was the biggest horror on the lips of those who offered their opinion. "Satanism is big in this area. These kids are getting up to all sorts of evil," said one.

The Freedom Front Plus' Jaco Mulder even sent out a Press release asking for the TV show Reaper to be withdrawn from MNet.

The plot line, where the main character has to track down souls for Satan, is in "no way comic", said Mulder.

"Pop groups like Slipknot and programmes like Reaper, together with any rituals of Satanism contribute towards a climate of instability and immorality," said Mulder.

He added that he thought Satan was controlling young people's lives.

Next in the firing line was the metallic pop group Slipknot. "That music is satanic. It's not good for young people and it makes them do harmful things," said another.

Pastor Pierre Eksteen said as a cleric who works in the community he has found that a lot of young people turn to drugs and Satanism when they find no one to share their hearts with and these groups make them feel wanted and powerful.

"There is definitely Satanism in the area. In fact, there is Satanism in all schools in the country," he said.

He said that at a meeting at the school yesterday with counsellors, many children came forward and admitted to listening to "satanic music" and expressed a desire to change.

Ninjas, the influence of the media, availability of weapons and school safety in general has also come into the spotlight.

Parents feared that the suspect would be given bail and allowed back into school. One mother was angry that security had not been beefed up at the school and she said she had heard a video taken on the morning of the slayings was being circulated among pupils.

But if anyone thinks they have the real answer to what happened to Morne Harmse on Monday, his appearance in court could only have sent their theories reeling.

It was hard to imagine the tiny boy with bony shoulders, who sat in the dock on Wednesday with his eyes downcast, swinging a 60cm ninja sword with enough force to slash a fellow pupil's jugular.

The 18-year-old Harmse is so small his face barely reached the court microphones. Harmse spent less than 10 minutes at the Krugersdorp magistrate's court during his first appearance.

The teen has been charged with one count of murder - for killing 16-year-old Jacques Pretorius - and three of attempted murder.

Harmse did not turn around once. He sat with his arms folded the entire time and it did not seem as though his family were present.

Max Brochlin, who was also arrested after the incident, was released after charges against him were withdrawn.

See Page 3

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