One of the victims was fatally injured while the other two survived the latest farm attack in the province of Gauteng.
Gerhard Kritzinger (64) was shot dead, while his mother, Ansu de Villiers (74) was assaulted and scalded with boiling water. Gerhard’s wife Rina was also assaulted: her hands were swollen and blue as a result having been tied up with electric cables.
According to Gerhard’s daughter Anne-re Vreken, four masked black assailants stormed into the bedroom of the couple at 21:00.
Rina started screaming, after which Gerhard rushed into the room. He was shot at point blank range as he entered the bedroom, his daughter said.
Gerhard’s mother was also threatened with a firearm. She glared back at the attacker as he held the gun to her head, and told him: “I tell you in the name of Jesus, you will not shoot me.”
Ansu mostly spoke Sotho – a local African language – to the attackers. Instead of shooting her, the attacker then assaulted the elderly woman, beating her against the head.
Captain Mavela Masondo, spokesman for the Gauteng Police Department, confirmed that none of the perpetrators have yet been arrested.
The decade from 2009 to 2019 saw an increase of 86 percent in farm and rural attacks and murders compared to the previous one, according to the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU).
The Pretoria-headquartered organisation monitors farm attacks on members and non-members using information from local farmer associations and organisations, police and community policing forums as well as farm watch units.
The TAU incident register recorded 1 125 farm attacks between 1990 and 1999. This grew to 1 404 – a 25 percent increase from 2000 to 2009. Over the past nine years the TAU personnel have recorded 2 616 attacks on farms, include farm owners and workers as well as buildings, implements and other equipment, an 86 percent increase.
“The figures by themselves are shocking,” TAU Deputy General Manager, retired Major General Chris van Zyl, told Defenceweb.
Data showed some 5 148 recorded events in which farm owners, their families or workers “feared for their lives”. Torture is also increasingly being reported during farm attacks. This includes victims not only beaten or burnt with boiling water, but burnt with clothes irons, raped or having limbs broken.
Van Zyl said the TAU was “fully aware” of South Africa’s national daily murder rate of 56. Quoting Institute of Security Studies (ISS) statistics he said there had been a 17 percent increase in murders nationally over the past six years with the 2017/18 figure at “over 20 000”.