Gauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile. Picture: gauteng.gov.za

Johannesburg - Gauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile, accompanied by the Mayor of Mogale City Naga Patrick Lipudi, visited the family of farmworker Aaron Mutavhatsindi, who was accused of stealing a tractor before he was shot dead in Tarlton, Krugersdorp, at the weekend.

A statement from the MEC's office said the purpose of the visit on Tuesday was for Maile to extend the Gauteng government's condolences to the family and to solicit a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the killing.

Initial reports suggested that a white farmer had shot a black farm worker, but the reports have since been disregarded as false.

Mutavhatsindi was allegedly shot dead by a security guard after he drove a tractor from the farm, where he was employed to the Matshepelapa informal settlement in Tarlton.

“The report from the family is quite disturbing and shocking. We are confident the police will assist to see justice being done through their investigations. Given the distortions and fabrications currently in the public domain, we can now safely say the alleged perpetrator was not the farm owner, but a security guard under the employ of the farm owner,” said Maile.

The security guard, PWJ Durandt, was employed to provide security at the Brett Egg Farm, next to Pinehaven. Mutavhatsindi was apparently employed on the same farm. 

Durant appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The MEC said the killing of Mutavhatsindi had drawn attention to the unequal, racialised and class nature of South African society.
 
Maile added: “We want to see justice being served against the perpetrator for senselessly murdering a man whose only desire was to see his family attaining a better life through his hard work”.
 
It is alleged that Mutavhatsindi was shot and later died of gunshot wounds as he was in possession of a stolen tractor belonging to his employer. The office of the MEC said that this narrative had been openly dismissed by Mutavhatsindi's family and the community of the area at large. 
 
Maile said that the police were investigating the circumstances and underlying reasons that led to the killing of Mutavhatsindi. Racial tensions were high in the area and people were demanding that action be taken against the alleged perpetrator.
 
“As the government, we will be convening a meeting with farmers and farm workers to look at a number of pertinent issues that have been highlighted by this tragic loss of life, especially issues of racially motivated killings, exploitation of workers and racialised evictions of farm dwellers," Maile said.
 
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) has offered to assist in giving the deceased a dignified send-off on Saturday. The deceased will be buried at his home village in Venda in the Limpopo province.

African News Agency/ANA