The three Zimbabweans who allegedly attacked the farm of Alwyn van Zyl (79) and his wife, René (66), at Badseloop five months ago, appeared in the Mookgophong Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo on Thursday. Alwyn was killed during the attack.
The court case has been adjourned until October 7 for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to decide to which court the case will be moved. The court also ordered that one of the suspects should receive medical treatment after he was allegedly assaulted.
The suspects, Tatenda Lebogang Mongwenya (32), Lyod Madumba (28) and Yaganias Saga (30), remain in custody until then, as their application for bail was earlier denied.
The three suspects are charged with house robbery, attempted murder, murder, possession of stolen goods and possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.
The Van Zyl couple were overpowered and assaulted by five attackers in their farmhouse outside Mookgophong (Naboomspruit) on March 20 at around 00:15. The couple was lying asleep when the men entered the farmhouse. The attackers tied Alwyn’s feet and arms with clothes and then strangled him.
They then went to the other room where they threatened René and demanded money and firearms. They tied her up with shoelaces and then looted the room, looking for items to steal.
The suspects were arrested several hours after the attack.
Thousands of tractors, trucks, vans and farm implements gathered in a convoy on their way to court today. Farmers even took part in the march on horses.
According to a member of the community who took part in the march, there were about 1 000 vehicles, 4 000 people and 300 tractors that took part in the march.
The farmers gathered in their vehicles at all five entrances to the town and marched together to the court.
Black crosses and banners were pasted on the vehicles with words such as “Where do you draw the line?”, “No farmer, no food, no job, no future”. Enlarged photos of Alwyn and René were also displayed.
“This is a chicken meat moment to see thousands of farmers stand together for one goal,” said one of the farmers who took part in the march.
“Although these are very sad circumstances that bring us together, it is gratifying to see that members of the community are increasingly resisting farm attacks,” said Andries Opperman, AfriForum’s Security Coordinator for Limpopo.
The march was organized by the Potgietersrus district of the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA).
Kobus Briel, René’s son-in-law, says the family appreciates the march and the effort that the farmers of the community make for them. He also took part in the march.
Briel says René has meanwhile moved to the town (Naboomspruit) and no longer lives on the farm. He says she is doing well in the circumstances.
Farmers of the community will remember him as a farmer with a sincere, good heart who “would not harm a fly”.