Two farm attacks that took place just over a day apart in central KwaZulu-Natal last weekend are causing great concern among the KwaZulu-Natal agricultural union.
Freddie van Tonder, head of security at the KwaZulu-Natal agricultural union, says it seems that both cases were aimed at people who trade from their farms.
In the first attack – Saturday around 09:00 on the Busy Bend farm in the Middelrus district – the farmer, Kevin Taylor (58), and his family were attacked and robbed.
According to Van Tonder, between three and five armed men entered the farm in a white Toyota Quantum minibus, the number plate of which is unknown.
They broke open the front door of the farmhouse and tied up two women, including the farmer’s wife (55) and a younger woman (18) who were presumably visiting there.
Taylor and his son, Bruce (22), were outside feeding the livestock at the time.
“When the farmer and his son returned to the farmhouse, they were stopped by the attackers and also tied up,” says Van Tonder.
“The attackers demanded money and firearms. Kevin was assaulted until he handed over the safe’s keys to the attackers.”
The attackers looted an unknown amount of cash, six firearms, five mobile phones and other valuables and then fled.
“No one has yet been arrested in connection with the incident.”
Kevin Taylor was sent to the Netcare St. Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg for further medical treatment. He may have suffered a concussion and is being treated for a broken eye socket.
The second attack took place on Sunday afternoon in Dalton County.
According to information, a woman, who runs a stall on the farm, was attacked and robbed by five suspects. She was apparently burned with hot water.
It is unclear what, if anything, was looted.
“The suspects fled into nearby sugarcane plantations. The police apprehended and arrested one suspect. The other four are still at large.”
In both cases, the victims made emergency calls on the local radio networks, to which farmers, private security companies and the police in the area responded.
Van Tonder says there were security cameras on the Taylor family’s farm, but the attackers removed and broke the devices.
“In both cases, the farms were possibly targets because there is trade going on. We understand that farms are businesses and cannot prevent farmers from trading on their farms. But the moment you trade, extra security measures are needed to prevent just such attacks, whether through security cameras or systems.
“The fact that the farms are isolated worsens the situation because it gives the attackers more time to carry out their attack and severely rob people.
“Either way, these were unnecessary attacks on older people. It was cruel and you really don’t understand it.”
The agricultural union also advises farmers to contact local security companies and farming communities.
“We are obviously concerned about the unnecessary attacks in our community. That’s why we once again call on farmers to be more prepared and step up their safety.”
RNews has made an inquiry to the police, but is still waiting for a response.