Hawks hunt brutal video
Investigators believe a recording was made of the assault of two farm workers in Parys and then distributed via WhatsApp among farmers in the district
The Hawks have confiscated four farmers’ cellphones after receiving information that a video was allegedly recorded of two farm workers being assaulted with a wrench near Parys in the Free State. The video was apparently distributed on WhatsApp to farmers in the Weiveld district after the gruesome January 6 attack in which Samuel Tjiza and Simon Jubebea died from bleeding on the brain. Their heads, said police, were “swollen like pumpkins”.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the phones belonging to Anton Loggerenberg, Boeta van der Westhuizen, as well as father and son Johan Cilliers senior and junior, have been sent away for analysis.
Tjiza and Jubebea were in critical condition by the time police arrived at the Cilliers’ farm and found them on the back of Loggerenberg’s bakkie.
“It was obvious to the police that this was not the place where the assault took place,” Mulaudzi said.
Loggerenberg said one of the men confessed to a police officer that they threw a revolver away on the land, but the police’s ballistics team couldn’t find it.
A farm attacker had used a revolver in an attack hours before on Van der Westhuizen’s 72-year-old father, Loedie, at the back door of his farmhouse. But police could not find footprints belonging to Tjiza or Jubebea around Loedie’s home.
The only evidence linking the murdered workers to the attack on Loedie was his two whippets, which were with them on Cilliers’ farm.
Jubebea’s grandmother Hester (63), who lives in a township outside Parys, was too distraught to speak. Her daughter died two months before her grandson.
His sister, Susan, said: “We are very upset. We want to see justice served, but the murderers must pay to raise our children. Our breadwinner is gone.”
Tjiza’s aunt Bettie Nokane (58) said it was an awful thing that happened. “Previously, black and white people got along very well,” she said. Both men were buried yesterday. Tjiza’s brother Elias said Tjiza and Jubebea went to Boeta van der Westhuizen’s house to ask him for R3 000 in unpaid wages.
“Boeta said they must get their money from his dad,” he said. But Van der Westhuizen vigorously denies this. “My father and I farm independently from each other. They are making up stories,” he said.
Loedie van der Westhuizen, who lives a few farms away, told Rapport that he did not recognise his attacker. He also did not see a second man.
The Cilliers family runs the farm by themselves and has no workers. Rapport has learnt that Cilliers junior conducts security patrols for farmers to earn extra cash, and he and his father arrested Tjiza and Jubebea, and waited for the police.
“There is still a lot of investigation that needs to be done, and the police are calling upon those who have information to come forward,” said Mulaudzi.
Racial tensions in the area spiked after several men, including Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging member and “Boer nationalist” Piet “Skiet” Rudolph, arrived at the farmers’ court appearance this week waving the Vierkleur (an old Boer Republic flag).
A police docket was opened against Rudolph for holding an illegal demonstration.
The farmers were released on R5 000 bail each on Tuesday afternoon after Magistrate Leshni Pillay found the police’s case against them to be weak.
They are provisionally standing trial on two counts of murder, but all deny the allegations against them.
Loggerenberg and Boeta van der Westhuizen insist the dead men were not assaulted in their presence.
“I was in complete dismay,” said Loggerenberg. “I told the investigating officer several times in Sesotho to remember this day. The road ahead is long. It is unfair. When you beat someone to death, you have marks on your hands. I had none.”
Between 40 and 60 farmers from neighbouring towns reacted to the message of the attack on Loedie, shared on a WhatsApp group involving about 100 farmers.
Van der Westhuizen said he and Loggerenberg were among the last to arrive at the scene.
“The one man was lying on the ground with his hands tied, and the other one sat up and was breathing very loudly. I thought it was because they had run so far,” he said.
Both men deny paying their workers irregularly or treating them badly, although farm workers on neighbouring farms claim this is a well-known fact.
One farm worker employed by Loggerenberg for three years said he often did not receive his R1 200 monthly wage and seldom got leave.
From left: Boeta van der Westhuizen, Johan Cilliers Snr, Johan Cilliers Jnr and Anton Loggerenberg BROKEN Hester Jubebea (63) is inconsolable after the violent death of her grandson Simon Jubebea