The state has indicated that it will oppose the bail application of the four suspects who appeared in the magistrate’s court in Balfour, Mpumalanga, on Thursday for the murder of 71-year-old Theo Bekker and the attack on his wife, Marlinda, on their farm in the Grootvlei area.
Siyanda Gift Ziqubu (18) and Kgahliso Motaung (18) as well as two minors, respectively 16 and 17 years old, are charged with murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, pointing a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
A large group of farmers and community members gathered outside the court with placards reading “Stop Farm Killings” and “Farmers’ Lives Matter”, to express their displeasure about farm attacks and killings.
Petrus Sitho, outspoken activist against farm killings and attacks, also raised his voice in the crowd.
RNews reported earlier that 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.
Bekker was hit in the face with an unknown object and his throat was cut. His body was found on the kitchen floor.
Marlinda was severely assaulted and suffocated with a plastic bag, among other things.
The house was ransacked and the suspects fled with a sum of money, as well as three firearms and the couple’s Renault Kwid.
Monica Nyuswa, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Mpumalanga, says the case against the four suspects has been postponed until Monday so that the suspects can formally apply for legal aid. They are still in custody.
“According to the state, the suspects had a common goal when they went to Bekker’s farm that day,” says Nyuswa.
The arrest of the four suspects follows after the Bekker couple’s stolen car was involved in an accident at Villiers in the Free State. The police were notified of the accident and responded.
“While the police searched the vehicle, they found one of Bekker’s firearms. It has also been established that the vehicle belongs to the Bekker couple.”
Sitho expressed his displeasure about the farm attacks outside the court and said “it is sad that Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa has not said a word about it yet”.
“It is the farmers who bring food to the table, even for the president and Julius Malema (who sang ‘Kill the boer, kill the farmer’ on Saturday),” said Sitho.
“Minister Bheki Cele also does nothing regarding the farmers’ safety. The farmers will have to start standing together, and I am here for the farmers.”