Four teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 have been arrested after they allegedly robbed and killed a 79-year-old farmer from Grootvlei in Mpumalanga and severely assaulted his wife.
The arrests were made barely two hours after the incident.
Brig. Selvy Mohlala, police spokesperson, says Theo Bekker and his wife (Marlinda) were attacked on Sunday morning on their farm in the Grootvlei area. The four suspects apparently stopped Bekker outside the house and forced him back inside. They allegedly demanded money and firearms.
“The suspects assaulted the man and woman,” says Mohlala.
“The man (Bekker) was hit on his face with an unknown object and died from his injuries.”
The house was ransacked and the suspects fled with a sum of money, as well as three firearms and the couple’s Renault Kwid.
After the suspects fled, the police were called. Paramedics pronounced Bekker dead on their arrival at the farm and his wife was taken to a hospital for treatment.
At that stage, the police received information that the couple’s stolen car had been involved in an accident near Villiers in the Free State.
“All the occupants jumped out of the car and apparently fled the scene,” says Mohlala.
“However, a resident who saw the accident informed the local police and a large-scale search was launched for the men.”
Shortly afterwards, the police arrested all four suspects and confiscated two of the firearms that had been looted from Bekker’s house. The other firearm was found at the scene of the accident.
Mohlala says the four young accused are facing charges of murder, robbery and assault with intent to seriously injure. They are expected to appear in the Balfour Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Lt. Gen. Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, provincial police commissioner, strongly condemned the farm attack, as well as thanking those who helped to quickly catch the suspects for their actions.
“The positive contribution of the community member, as well as the Villiers and Grootvlei police will not go unnoticed.”
Friends of Bekker and residents of the surrounding towns have meanwhile expressed their shock and sadness over the incident on social media.
The FF Plus in the Balfour, Grootvlei and Greylingstad area shared news about the attack on Sunday and expressed their condolences to Bekker’s loved ones.