The farming community of Hartswater in Northern Cape staged a peaceful march as five suspects accused of the murder of three members of the Brand family appeared in Hartswater Magistrate’s Court for their first appearance.
Breggie (73), Danie (83) and Elzabie (54) Brand were brutally attacked and killed on Sunday, reportedly as they were about to have their Sunday lunch. Their bodies were found 30km from their farm home.
The Hartswater community got the chance to catch a glimpse of the triple murder suspects on Thursday, as emotions ran high in the courtroom.
Five suspects aged between 18 and 42 years were arrested for the gruesome murders earlier this week. The group is accused of abducted three members of the Brand family, before killing them and abandoning the bodies.
Huge protests took place outside of the venue on Thursday.
Of the group, two suspects were in their teens and the oldest is aged 42. A female suspect also appeared in the dock on Thursday. They all rejected an offer of bail and were charged with three counts of murder, kidnapping, and robbery each.
These Schedule 6 offences tend to carry some very stiff penalties.
The alleged farm murder ‘gang’ will remain in police custody until 13 August, as one of the accused has confirmed they will be securing the services of a private attorney to fight their case personally:
Long lines of tractors and agricultural vehicles occupied the main roads leading into Hartswater before the convoy drove past the Magistrates Court. Many demonstrators have again taken aim at Cyril Ramaphosa, asking the president about his perceived silence on the thorny issue of farm murders.
AfriForum estimates that July has been a particularly bloody month for farm murders. Nine separate deaths have been reported in the past four weeks, and those mounting frustrations have boiled over in the Northern Cape. For those in Hartswater – and beyond – ‘enough is enough’: