Ixopo farmer murdered

Farmer Anton Phillip Verwey (67) was stabbed to death in his farmhouse in the early hours of 7 March, in KwaZulu-Natal’s Ixopo area.

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According to the SAPS, Verwey was killed during a robbery. Six suspects aged between 14 and 24 were arrested mere hours after the incident following a rapid response by local police and private security.

“[The suspects] were found in possession of the victim’s two bicycles, plasma TV, computer, laptop, cellphones and other belongings. Charges of murder and house robbery are being investigated by Ixopo SAPS,” said KZN SAPS spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane.

The KZN SAPS also reported that an elderly couple was attacked and robbed in their farmhouse in the Bergville area late on Sunday afternoon, 6 March. Zwane told Farmer’s Weekly that four suspects armed with handguns shot the couple’s dog before assaulting the man and his wife. The suspects stole cash, two firearms and cellphones before fleeing the scene.

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Verwey’s death was the first confirmed farm murder in the province this year, said Koos Marais of Kwanalu’s Security Desk. Excluding the Bergville farm attack, which Marais still had to confirm, there have been five farm attacks in KZN in 2016.

“We are shocked and very concerned at the news of Mr Verwey’s murder. Another food producer has been lost, and this could lead to job losses as well,” said Marais.

Kwanalu urged government to implement drastic measures to protect the country’s farmers, farming families and farm workers at all scales of production.

The farmers’ union also again called on farmers to ensure they had stringent security measures in place on their farms, particularly around their homesteads.