Farm workers gather in sorrow, after farmer killed 4 days after wedding in farm attack

The tragic experience was traumatic for the farm workers, who were shocked by the news.

Farms needs a beefed up security as some of these places are isolated and remote from the crowd.

The victim, Nicolaas Strydom, 31, was shot dead when 12 men, pretending to conduct business, set upon the farm owner Johan Terblanche on Kleinensorgen on Sunday.

Earlier, the Philippi Horticultural Area pleaded with Community Safety MEC Alan Winde for more protection, a brazen farm attack has left one person dead and residents in shock.

The attack happened five days after a Bonnievale farming couple was found dead in their beds in what was believed to be a farm attack. One person was arrested.

“I think it’s high time to pack up and leave; there is no other way,” said a shattered Terblanche, fighting back tears.

His devastated staff had a hard time getting back to work on Monday after hearing about the incident.

Nicolaas’s wife Shirley Strydom said they officially got married on Wednesday, and have three children, Lucinda, 12, Kirsten, 9, and Sergeo, 2.

She said the family had been inundated with messages of support and flowers since her husband’s death.

She described him as a “loving, nice, harmless, good-hearted husband”, who always remembered important things for his loved ones.

“Nicolaas was killed while dreaming for the future and the success of his children,” Shirley added.

Terblanche lamented that our justice system is not right.

“Criminals get arrested to be treated nicely in jail, getting their bread and exercise on time. What about Nicolaas’s children who will now suffer because their father, the only breadwinner, has been killed?”

Terblanche said he and his son Stiaan were busy with maintenance work on the property when 12 men arrived on the pretence of conducting business.

“Two had rifles and the other 10 handguns. One threatened me, and forced me to a safe and took R10000 cash,” Terblanche said.

The farm murder comes a week after Winde, Social Development MEC Albert Fritz and ward councillor Elton Jansen visited Schaapkraal in the Philippi Horticultural Area and met farmers and farm workers to discuss safety.

Philippi Horticultural Area spokesperson Nazeer Sonday said they were saddened by the robbery and the death of a farm worker.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. We hope that law enforcement agencies will speedily bring all these criminals to book,” Sonday said.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said following the robbery two suspects had been arrested. A third was killed and police have launched a manhunt for the rest.

Rwexana said during the attack the owner, his son and farm employees were forced into a storeroom, before one worker was shot and died on his way to hospital.

“The suspects fled in a white Toyota Avanza vehicle and a white Volkswagen Golf.”

Police and Farm Watch members were activated and arrested two suspects, aged 33 and 35, while another suspect, also in his 30s, was killed. A white VW Golf was seized.

Winde said he was deeply disturbed by the recent spate of attacks on both farm workers and owners.

“I condemn all attacks in the strongest possible terms. It is extremely concerning to note that criminals are now targeting the farming communities. I commend the police for the swift arrests in both incidents,” Winde said.

He said last week an elderly couple were attacked and killed in Bonnievale.

“In another incident it is alleged that a farm owner attacked a farm worker in Matzikama and now a gang of about 10 attacked a farmer and his employees.

“I call on community members to provide any information to the police so they can swiftly apprehend the outstanding suspects.”

The provincial ANC condemned the attacks. Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs congratulated police on the Bonnievale arrest. “Every attack on a farm is an attack on our country. We call on all our people to stand together to defeat these criminals.”


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