The two men arrested in connection with the murder of three people at Pietermaritzburg‘s Hoegelee Farm in Bishopstowe, near Pietermaritzburg, were former employees.
Danie de Bruin (58) a manager at the farm, his wife Glynis (60) and his father in-law (87), Colin Schwegman, all died of their injuries on Monday evening after intruders attacked them with bush knives.
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The two men are in police custody following their arrests at the Swapo settlement near Eastwood early Tuesday morning.
KZN police spokesperson Thembeka Mbele said it is alleged that two weeks ago there was a labour dispute between the Danie de Bruin and his employees.
“Two of his workers were not pleased with their employer’s decision. The farm was closed and the employees were moved to a nearby informal settlement where they stay.”
She said that on Monday the men went to the farmer’s tuck shop which is situated inside the premises where they saw the De Bruin’s son “bought chips and passed some remarks”.
“Later in the afternoon, the deceased’s son was called by another farmer informing him that his father’s farm was on fire and when he tried to call his parents there was no response. He then rushed to the farm and found bodies of his parents and grandfather with stab wounds to the necks and head.”
Mbele said Danie was found few metres away from the main house, his wife Glynis was found dead in the kitchen and Collin Schwegman was found dead just outside his room.
Charges of murder were opened at Bishopstowe police station for investigation.”After an intensive investigation, early [on Tuesday] morning the Bishopstowe detectives with the assistance of the Mountain Rise K9 Unit arrested two suspects aged 27 and 35 at Swapo informal settlement in Copesville. They will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 17 December 2020 where they will be facing murder charges.”
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula applauded the Bishopstowe detectives and Mountain Rise K9 police for their swift arrest. “Justice will prevail and we hope the family will find solace knowing the perpetrators are behind bars”, he said.
Clinton Diedericks, the owner of Hoegelee Farm, confirmed that the suspects were known to the family.
The killings are the latest in a string of farm attacks in the province in recent months.
On Saturday, Bill Theron, an 80-year-old smallholder, was gunned down at his home in Crammond near Albert Falls.
Theron’s murder followed that of 80-year-old Mponzana Khumalo, who died after being shot in the chest while checking on the family’s cattle in Nkomba, near Muden recently.
The DA said the murders were mainly due to the government’s failure to adopt a tough stance against the attackers.
“While government is quick to act against violence when it comes to truckers and cash-in transit vehicle heists, it is motionless and emotionless on matters involving farmers and farm workers, who are being attacked and murdered at a rate much higher than many other groups,” said the DA provincial agriculture spokesperson, Chris Pappas.