The Herald (South Africa)
East Cape cattle farmer stabbed to death
AN Eastern Cape cattle farmer was stabbed to death on his farm between Cradock and Hofmeyr in a brazen attack at the weekend.
His wife and two daughters from a previous marriage received “flesh wounds”. Two men, both in their early 20s, have been arrested in connection with the murder.
Octogenarian Louis Traut, who owns several farms and properties in the Free State and Eastern Cape, was stabbed repeatedly in the chest on the farm Doornkop, about 15km from Hofmeyr, on Sunday night.
Outraged farmers condemned the attack and called for the killers to receive the maximum penalty.
The attack happened shortly after 8pm. Police were alerted two hours later after one of the women managed to untie herself and run to a farm manager’s house.
The suspects were arrested a few hours later after police spotted a vehicle stolen from the farm abandoned at the side of the road about 100km from Middelburg.
Firearms stolen from the farm were also allegedly found in their possession.
Police spokeswoman Captain Stephanie Smith said the three alleged robbers kicked down the back door, stormed inside and stabbed Traut several times in the chest. He died at the scene.
“The men kept on demanding to know where the safe and firearms were. His wife Coleen, 48, and daughters Louisa, 50, and Mariska, 45, sustained superficial stab wounds for which they were taken to the Cradock hospital for treatment,” she said.
Smith said after the police were alerted, the K9 unit combed the bushes while other units searched the streets for the stolen vehicle.
As the news of the murder spread, farmers from the surrounding farms joined in the search for the attackers.
Police said the suspects were from the Hofmeyr area.
Friends of the Traut family expressed shock at the brutal murder on the town’s Facebook page.
They described Traut as a man who “let people shine”.
Another woman called Traut her “other father”, and wished the attackers a slow, painful death.
The three women were staying with friends in Hofmeyr yesterday while police gathered evidence at the farm.
Agri Eastern Cape president Ernest Pringle said farm safety was a major problem in the rural farming area. “We are extremely
happy that the police managed to arrest two of the robbers and congratulate them on a job well done,” he said.
“The brutal murder is a tremendous shock to Hofmeyr and the neighbouring towns.”
Cradock cluster commander Brigadier Madoda Zamkana said the quick arrests were the result of good police work.
Traut’s murder comes just two weeks after the body of Queenstown farmer Dudley Buss, 67, was found stuffed into a freezer. A suspect was arrested days later.
The Traut murder suspects are due to appear in the Hofmeyr Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery and the illegal possession of firearms.