A 29-year-old man is expected to appear the Newcastle Magistrates Court on Monday, 21 September 2020, for the murder of a KwaZulu-Natal couple on their farm.
Glen and Vida Rafferty were shot dead on their farm in Normadien, near Newcastle back in August 2020. The perpetrators are believed to have fled the scene in the couple’s vehicle, which was later recovered.
The man faces two counts of murder.
SAPS: ‘More arrested can be expected’
SAPS spokesperson Jay Naicker said the suspect was nabbed by a local crime unit and later confessed to the killings.
Naicker further said the investigation would still continue.
“The suspect was arrested by detectives from the provincial organised crime unit in Osizweni. He was then taken to the magistrate where a confession was recorded. He was charged with two counts of murder and will appear in court on Monday,” he said.
“The investigation is ongoing. More arrests can be expected”
However, the motive for their murder remains unknown at this stage as the couple’s nephew said none of their valuables, including money and keys to a safe, were taken.
It comes as KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala engaged the Newcastle farming community on measures aimed at curbing attacks. Zikalala said the Rafferty’s murders laid bare the extent of farm killings on the province.
“About three years ago, the Normandien area came under the spotlight when tensions between farmworkers and farm owner, Lawrence Hoatson, reached boiling point,” he said.
“This escalation resulted in four of the farmworkers shot and injured while protesting at his farm gate. The tensions were further aggravated when Hoatson impounded a herd of 300 cattle belonging to the local community under the charge of overgrazing.”
The premier said tensions in farming communities are, however, not limited to Normandien and constantly erupted in different areas of the province.
“They are indicative of deep-seated anger between farmers, farmworkers and farm dwellers within farming communities,” Zikalala further said.
“Either way, farmers, farm workers and farm dwellers are central to finding permanent solutions to every issue”
At the same time, Police Minister Bheki Cele is expected to take part in a rural safety imbizo in the community, where farm attacks are the main focus.
According to the latest crime stats, 49 murders have occurred on farms between 2019 and 2020.
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