Five men appeared in the magistrate’s court in the Tseseng settlement in Qwaqwa, Free State, on Thursday afternoon in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Mike Pattinson (67), a farmer from Sterkfontein near Harrismith.
According to Sgt. Mmako Mophiring, police spokesperson, two more suspects are currently under police guard at the Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli Regional Hospital in Phuthaditjhaba. They appeared in court in absentia.
Pattinson’s body was found in a house in Tseseng on Monday. He was reported missing to police in Harrismith after he failed to show up for work earlier in the day. He lived alone on the farm Summerslie near the Sterkfontein dam.
Amos Ngcongwane, Lephosa Motaung, Teboho Mothibedi, Simpiwe Molaba and Siyabonga Maphalala briefly appeared in court. They are expected to appear in court again on Monday.
They are charged with house robbery, kidnapping, theft, possession of suspected stolen property and murder, Mophiring confirms.
Farmers and residents of Harrismith were at the court when the suspects appeared with placards that read, among other things, “Stop farm murders” and “Tired of murder”. This is in protest against farm attacks and murders in their area.
RNews earlier reported that Pattinson’s vehicle was found next to a house in the Tseseng settlement on Monday afternoon. Several police units were mobilized and seven people, including two women, were arrested.
The police searched the house where the car was parked and Pattinson’s body was found. He had several open wounds on his head and neck.
After the incident, the DA and FF Plus once again asked farmers and rural communities to protect themselves and be prepared.
“Farmers must remain extra vigilant against potential dangers. This is already because farms are more remote and foreign visitors can attack,” says Leona Kleynhans, the DA’s spokesperson on community safety in the Free State.
“Establish or join existing security networks and make use of available and reliable security mechanisms and methods, such as panic buttons and camera systems,” says Jan van Niekerk, the FF Plus’ provincial leader in the Free State.
A funeral service for Pattinson will take place next Tuesday at 11:00 in the Fountain of Life church in Warden Street, Harrismith.