South Africa

Parys alleged murderers released on bail

Four farmers from Parys in the Free State who are accused of murder were released on bail late yesterday afternoon due to a lack of evidence.

The men allegedly killed two alleged farm attackers last Wednesday.

However, Samuel Tjixa and Simon Jubeba are believed to have first attempted to rob 72-year-old Loedie van der Westhuizen before fleeing on foot.

It was a day filled with tension as ANC supporters continually clashed with local farmers outside the Parys Magistrate’s Court.

The police were present in large numbers and had to cordon of the road with barbwire to separate the EFF from the ANC, and the ANC from the farmers.

While both the ANC and EFF supporters sang and marched up and down the road, several farmers tried to provoke them brandishing the old Vierkleur-flag.

Marius Harding explains why they brought the old flag along: “Because I’m a boer and the vierkleur is the boere flag. And its our symbol of freedom. I’m here to support the guys whose gonna get bail or apply for bail due to the fact that they have helped people which was in trouble.”

The EFF in the province claim the two deceased were employees of 72-year-old Loedie van der Westhuizen and that they went to him to sort out a loan dispute.

But, SABC News has learnt that the deceased were employees of Van der Westhuizen’s son some years ago and that they never worked for the elderly man.

The EFF’s April Motaung says, “We are here to support our two black brothers that were killed by white people at the farm. They were brutally killed by white people, so we are saying hashtag racism must fall.”

The ANC ended up being the only group who had permission to demonstrate which resulted in the police violently trying to remove several farmers.

ANC spokesperson Oupa Magadlela says issues of racism need to swiftly be dealt with.

“Now unfortunately there are those who are still holding us behind through racism acts. Now we are here today because there are two black people who were killed by white farmers who instead of paying there salaries decided to take law into their own hands and kill them. Now we are saying as the ANC that enough is enough, we cannot let racism be part of the country that we so much fought for to show that there’s democracy. We are showing our displeasure at the way our people are being treated and we are requesting that the law be done and that these people are put behind bars forever.”

The ANC supporters at one point started chanting ‘kill the boer, kill the farmer’ whilst pointing at the gathered group of local farmers.

Magadlela says they did try and stop their members from singing the song that was declared as hate speech.

The farmers then started singing Die Stem whilst the ANC supporters retaliated by singing kill the boer, kill the farmer again
“No it is not allowed, we have been talking to our people and we cannot allow that. People are hurt and all these things are coming out, but we will not allow that. We condemn with the strongest possibility that so we cannot allow that to happen. We have already spoken to them.”

A short time later there was a standoff between ANC supporters and a group of farmers.

The farmers then started singing Die Stem whilst the ANC supporters retaliated by singing kill the boer, kill the farmer again.

But the tensions died down later in the day as the bail hearing finally got underway.

At first State Prosecutor Sandile Mthethwa asked that the matter be postponed, but Magistrate Leshni Pillay denied his application and asked that he leads evidence so that the schedule of the murder charge could be determine.

Investigating Officer Isaac Tshabalala was called to testify, but it quickly became apparent that the State had a weak case against the four accused.

In his testimony, he admitted that the police have no eyewitnesses as well as no evidence that directly or indirectly links the accused to the alleged murders.

The court was told that the four farmers pursued the two alleged farm attackers for several kilometers before performing a citizens arrest.

When the police arrived a group of farmers left except for the four accused. They were then arrested.

Magistrate Pillay later granted the men bail saying that she is saddened by the police’s poor investigation and that two people lost their lives.

Civil organisation AfriForum’s Ernst Roets welcomed by decision.

“Well we think what happened here in court has once again proven the extent the police has let people down, clearly justice was not served in the way the police dealt with this matter. But we are very happy that bail was granted and that the people are out.”

While the four accused persons’ families rejoiced at their release on bail, the families of the deceased were angered by it.

One of the deceased men’s mother, Ruth Qokotha says, “I feel very sad, angry, and I’ve got heart attack. I pray only God to help to arrange my son’s funeral, then maybe after that I can be dead as well.”

The matter has been postponed until February 12 when the farmers will return to court.