Ministers set to visit Senekal on Tuesday amid racial tensions

Twenty-one-year-old Brendin Horner’s body was found tied to a pole with a rope around his neck earlier this month.

FILE: A police vehicle set alight by angry farmers outside the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on 6 October 2020. Picture: @crimeairnetwork/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - A high-level delegation of government ministers is heading to Senekal in the Free State on Tuesday as racial tensions simmer over the murder of a farm manager.

Twenty-one-year-old Brendin Horner’s body was found tied to a pole with a rope around his neck earlier this month.

When the two men linked to Horner’s killing appeared in court last Tuesday, chaos erupted as local farmers stormed the building demanding that the pair be handed over to the community.

Court property was destroyed during the invasion, gunshots were fired, and a police van was set alight.

From President Cyril Ramaphosa, political parties, lobby groups, and ordinary South Africans - everyone has had their say about Horner’s murder and the subsequent violent clashes in Senekal.

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa described Horner’s killing as an appalling act of cruelty adding that the recent events opened up old wounds.

The president’s words did little to calm racial tensions, and on Tuesday morning Police Minister Bheki Cele, as well as State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, were expected to visit the small Free State town of Paul Roux to offer condolences to the Horner family.

They were also expected to meet with farming groups in the area.

The government delegation had its work cut out to ensure that it listens to the concerns of an angry farmers community while addressing the grievances of those who feel that last week’s protesters acted with impunity and should be held accountable.

DA LAYS CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST MALEMA

On Monday, Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Natasha Mazzone laid a criminal complaint against Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and MP Nazier Paulsen for incitement of violence.

In a tweet to his 3.2 million followers, Malema urged EFF members to “attack” and posted a picture of a machine gun.

Paulsen, meanwhile, also uploaded an image of a gun with the caption “get ready”.

SUSPECT ARRESTED 16 TIMES BEFORE

At the same time, Cele questioned the effectiveness of the criminal justice system after revealing one of the men accused of killing Horner was arrested 16 times.

Two men were in custody linked to the Free State murder of which a second accused was also arrested twice for other crimes.

Cele questioned how this was allowed to happen.

“The people we have arrested there, one of them has been arrested two times but the other one has been arrested 16 times. I would like to know why a person who has been arrested 16 times is still given another chance to commit other crime?”

The minister already met with Malema and was scheduled to meet with Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader Pieter Groenewald soon.

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa said Horner’s murder and the violence that followed showed just how easily the tinderbox of race hatred could be ignited.

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