Two suspects have been arrested for the murder of Free State farm manager Brendin Horner.
- Police Minister Bheki Cele has revealed the criminal history of the men accused of killing farm manager Brendin Horner.
- One suspect was arrested 16 times and found guilty of stock theft four times.
- In a visit to the Horner family, Cele said no conviction or sentence could bring the 21-year-old Horner back.
One of the men accused of murdering farm manager Brendin Horner had been arrested 16 times previously and was found guilty and sentenced for stock theft on four different occasions.
This was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele, who, along with State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, visited the family of Horner who was allegedly murdered on a farm in Paul Roux on 1 October.
Horner’s body was discovered the following morning and Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa were arrested a day later, on 3 October.
Police previously said it was suspected that the men who killed Horner were stock thieves.
Without revealing which suspect it is, Cele said one of the men who had been arrested 16 times, was found guilty four times of stock theft.
Of the twelve cases which were withdrawn, a number of them were also stock theft related.
The other cases related to robbery and minor crimes.
The second suspect had been arrested three times, including on a case of stock theft and more recently, contravening the regulations of the Disaster Management Act.
Later on Tuesday, during a meeting with farmers in a hall just outside of Bethlehem, Cele noted that the accused had been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment in one of the matters and 12 months in another.
“So it looks like it’s people who are habitual kind of criminals. We really hope that this time they won’t get another opportunity of doing what has happened,” Cele said.
Following the meeting with the Horner family, which happened behind closed doors, Cele said it was with a heavy heart that he and the delegation came to visit the family and convey their condolences.
Cele and Dlodlo said they shared in the family’s pain, but conceded that they would never be able to fully sympathise as neither had lost a child.
“We come here to pay condolences, but also to share with them the pain they feel, not pretending that we understand the pain,” Dlodlo said.
“The pain of losing a 21-year-old child is something we can never fathom; it’s even worse when you lose your child to murder, it becomes so difficult to deal with that.”
Dlodlo also spoke out about murders in the farming community, saying that one death was one too many.
She said the farming community included farm workers and cut across racial lines.
Cele said, while paying their respects, they also visited the family to listen to their concerns and to tell the family that police were working on the case, to find out what happened.
However, even if the accused were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, it would never bring back Horner, who showed a lot of promise and potential, Cele added.
Cele said the family was very accommodating and receptive, but added that it was clear that Horner’s mother was not coping at all with the death of her son.
Mahlamba and Matlaletsa appeared briefly in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on 6 October where the case was postponed to 16 October.
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