Senekal braces for con­fronta­tion

Mea­sures put in place to keep EFF and AfriFo­rum apart

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - LOYISO SIDIMBA

PO­LICE are putting in place strict mea­sures to pre­vent a potentiall­y vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion be­tween the EFF, mi­nor­ity rights group AfriFo­rum and other Afrikaner for­ma­tions.

The plan will see the EFF, AfriFo­rum mem­bers and other Afrikaner groups be­ing con­fined to sep­a­rate ar­eas in Senekal to­day, and will not be al­lowed to march or move.

Sek­wetje Isa­iah Mahlamba, 32, and 44-year-old Sekola Piet Mat­laletsa, both res­i­dents of Takalatse in Fateng-Tse-Nt­sho town­ship in Paul Roux, are due to ap­pear be­fore the Senekal Mag­is­trate’s Court on charges of mur­der­ing farm man­ager Brendin Horner ear­lier this month.

Po­lice also will not al­low any peo­ple near the vicin­ity of the court and all roads around the court will be blocked off, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion ob­tained by In­de­pen­dent Me­dia.

The three groups will be con­fined to des­ig­nated ar­eas around the east­ern Free State town and will not be al­lowed to march or move.

Po­lice set up road­blocks at all en­trances to Senekal yes­ter­day, stop­ping and search­ing ve­hi­cles.

The elder sis­ter of one of the sus­pects Di­makatso Mahlamba, 41, told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia yes­ter­day that she would not be able to at­tend the court hear­ing be­cause she suf­fers from high blood pres­sure and di­a­betes.

“It would hurt to see my brother in the dock, I’d prob­a­bly col­lapse,” she said.

Their par­ents would not be present dur­ing court hear­ing as they were at­tend­ing a rel­a­tive’s funeral in QwaQwa.

How­ever, two of Sek­wetje’s six sib­lings would be in court to­day.

Di­makatso said Sek­wetje has been ar­rested for stock theft be­fore and as­sault.

How­ever, she does not be­lieve that her brother was ca­pa­ble of killing a per­son.

Ac­cord­ing to Di­makatso, her brother’s ar­rests only led to him be­ing briefly held in po­lice cells and he has never served a prison sen­tence for his crimes.

She said that Sek­wetje has never worked all his adult life and that the fam­ily sur­vived on their par­ents’ old age so­cial grant.

Late yes­ter­day, EFF mem­bers in the Free State were driv­ing around Senekal in a ve­hi­cle with huge speak­ers drum­ming up sup­port for their planned ac­tion.

EFF leader Julius Malema told 24-hour TV news sta­tion Newz­room Afrika yes­ter­day the EFF was go­ing to Senekal to pro­tect democ­racy, the Con­sti­tu­tion, which he said was “un­der threat by racist, ter­ror­ist farm­ers who go and at­tack a court of law and at­tack po­lice sta­tions”.

He said the move by farm­ers to storm the court last week was a dec­la­ra­tion of war against the state.

“If the cur­rent regime can’t de­fend the state, we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity as peace-lov­ing South Africans to de­fend our state against hooli­gan­ism, against ter­ror­ism,” he said.

AfriFo­rum yes­ter­day said it was pro­ceed­ing with its peace­ful protest against farm mur­ders and vi­o­lence this morn­ing.

Pub­lic or­der po­lice units from Bloem­fontein, Beth­le­hem, Selose­sha in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, and Gaut­eng have been de­ployed in Senekal. A wa­ter can­non is on standby and po­lice Nyalas were sched­uled to bar­ri­cade the court precinct with reams of barbed wire.

Ear­lier this week, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa said crime af­fected ev­ery­one and that the ma­jor­ity of its vic­tims were black and poor, with young black men and women at a dis­pro­por­tion­ately greater risk of be­ing mur­dered.

The pres­i­dent said while anger at the sense­less killing was jus­ti­fi­able, vig­i­lan­tism was not.

| OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

A STRONG po­lice pres­ence is ex­pected for the court ap­pear­ance to­day of the two sus­pects ac­cused of mur­der­ing young Paul Roux farm man­ager Brendin Horner.

| SCREEN­GRAB FROM TWIT­TER

VI­O­LENCE erupted in Senekal last week when two sus­pects ap­peared in court over the mur­der of Brendin Horner.

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