Stefan Smit (62), owner of the wine farm Louiesenhof in Stellenbosch, was shot and killed in his house last week in the latest farm attack. A friend of Smit believes that the murder was a hit job.
He believes this due to the fact that the attackers specifically targeted Stefan’s house and walked past other houses, directly to his house on the wine estate. He was shot to death by 4 black male attackers who gained entry to the house through a door which was not locked.
The friend who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Stefan received death threats and feared for his life since he was involved in a court case to try and get illegal land invaders and squatters off his farm.
Smit had increased security on his property and had paid extra guards.
Black residents of Khayamandi invaded Smit’s farm in July 2018 and started to squat on about 60 hectares of his land, which is held in a family trust. The black squatters erected about 1200 illegal structures on Smit’s property.
Smit had obtained an eviction order but decided against executing it because the land invaders threatened to plunder the town of Stellenbosch. He then decided to rather look for a solution in conjunction with the Stellenbosch Municipality, but the matter was not resolved.
Since the start of this year, 184 farm attacks and 20 farm murders had taken place in South Africa, according to AfriForum. Some 51 attacks occurred in Gauteng, making it the most dangerous province with the highest number of attacks.
During a media briefing on Tuesday, an AfriForum spokesperson noted that Gauteng province was followed by North West (28 attacks) and Limpopo (27 attacks).
The latest figures showed a drastic increase in the Western Cape province however. “Attacks in the Western Cape increased extremely, in such a manner that more than double the number of attacks were reported from January 1 to May 31, 2019, compared to this period in 2018,” the spokesman said.
Some 17 farm attacks and three farm murders have been recorded in the Western Cape.
“The climate in which violence towards farmers has been romanticised by very influential politicians,” Afriforum CEO Ernst Roets said, with reference to EFF leader Julius Malema’s comments about “slitting the throat of whiteness”.
And worse still, is that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed Malema’s comments, saying that the EFF leader should come home to the ANC.
Piet Carinus, chairperson of the Stellenbosch agriculture union, confirmed the murder and said that robbery was not the prime motive.
“There is shock and disbelief among farmers in the district. I don’t know what to say. We’re shocked. The impact on the community will be huge. It again emphasises the fact that farmers are responsible for their own safety, the authorities won’t be able to keep us safe,” Carinus said.
Other high-profile murders and attacks in the province, include the killing of well known strawberry farmer Jeffrey Zetler last year.
“We are concerned about the impact this murder will have on the community, on the industry and on property values. Smit was busy negotiating with the Stellenbosch municipality to sell the land to them, but it needs to happen at a market-related price. If the value of his property drops, then why not the value of his neighbour’s property, and his neighbour,” Carinus told News24.
“And the municipality is too afraid to act against the occupiers,” he added.
Agri Western Cape chief executive Jannie Strydom said President Ramaphosa should explain to producers why they should remain in the country if the safety of white farmers and their workers could not be guaranteed.
EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: “It is critical to understand that as EFF we support all land occupations by landless people as long as the question of land reform has not been addressed by the state and colonial beneficiaries of the land. This is a historic fact that majority of black people have only managed to access land in post-colonial times through land occupation.”
Such claims are spurious as there were no black inhabitants in the interior of the country following the Mfecane.