Farm Murders Continue In South Africa As Farmer's Wife Dies Two Days After Attack

Farm Murders Continue In South Africa As Farmer’s Wife Dies Two Days After Attack

Charlotte van Zyl, 55, the wife of Mpumalanga farmer Johannes van Zyl, 84, died two days after she was attacked with a set of crutches. The alleged attacker is a 35-year-old Swazi national who was an employee on their farm in Dirkiesdorp near Piet Retief. The suspect was taken into custody the day of the beating and was expected to appear in Magistrate court the following Tuesday for arraignment.

According to News 24, the police arrived on the scene to find Johannes van Zyl on the bathroom floor. He had sustained serious injuries and later died at the scene.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, farm murders have continued to rise in South Africa while farm attacks have fallen. Afriforum said the attacks were down slightly in 2015 from 2014. In 2015, 270 farm attacks were reported while there were 62 murders. In 2014, there were 279 farm attacks while there were 61 murders.

Critics of the farm attacks claim that there is a racial element to the murders while the South African Human Rights Commission claims they can find no evidence that the attacks are racially motivated. Afriforum has called for the South African government, under President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC), to make ending the attacks and murders a priority, as South African farming has become the most dangerous occupation in the world.

Afriforum accused police of not fighting these crimes with the necessary urgency they believed should be required of the police. In one of the worst attacks on record, a farmer was attacked and murdered by seven assailants who stole approximately R300 ($21.64) in property. Although the police claim these crimes are robberies, the farm murders are often accompanied with torture, brutality, and rape. The attacks have been primarily aimed at whites.

IOL News reported that the South African Human Rights Commission released a report called “Safety and Security Challenges in Farming Communities.” Dr. Danny Titus, the head of the commission who wrote the report, said that the commission was unable to make a determination that the attacks were racially motivated.

“We cannot make the finding that this is racially motivated, that this is ideologically driven as we experienced in the early 1990s.”

The report further stated that the Department of Justice was failing in its role to protect farmers.

“It is apparent from numerous respondents’ submissions that the Department of Justice is not fulfilling its role towards the farming community. This includes the alleged lack of information-sharing towards the victim and their families, in addition to the non-dissemination of information regarding trial dates, court procedures and witness preparation.”

Star Africa reported that the alleged perpetrator of the double murder of the van Zyls, John Masango, came from the Hhohho region of northern Swaziland and had been hired by the van Zyls to work their farm. The crutches he used to allegedly murder the couple belonged to Johannes van Zyl. Van Zyl received serious injuries to both his head and legs as a result of the attacks, and police arrived on the scene about an hour after the attack.

Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, a spokesperson for the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, said that police had yet to discover a motive for the farm murders, and the investigation is ongoing. Police were alerted by the neighbors about the attack and arrived to find Masango at the farm where he was subsequently arrested.

[Image via Pixabay]