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Brendin Horner murder thrusts farm attacks, stock theft into spotlight in 2020

The Free State town of Senekal was rocked by racial tensions and protests in October, when farm manager Brendin Horner was killed in a planned stock theft crime.

FILE: Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetja Mahlamba, two suspects accused of murdering Brendin Horner at the Senekal Magistrates court on 16 October 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - All eyes were turned to the courts in a small Free State farming town of Senekal, where the little talked about crime of stock theft was thrust in the spotlight.

The town was rocked by racial tensions and protests in October, when farm manager Brendin Horner was killed in a planned stock theft crime.

This thrust farm murders and crimes against farm owners in the spotlight.

White genocide, stock theft and farm murders: this is how the events that unfolded in Senekal after Horner’s murder were described.

When Eyewitness News spoke to farmers in the area, they had a lot to say about their everyday struggles.

GALLERY: Cele tackles issue of farm murders at Free State rural safety imbizo

Ntlenyana Mabula is a small scale farmer in Kaalaagte.

Her family trust was given this land by government as part of the land redistribution programme for agricultural development.

Mabula said that contrary to what many believed, this was not just a white genocide.

"Let's not try and hide it. We cannot keep blaming the white man. Yes, they were wrong for apartheid, but it's our own people that steal from us and threaten our lives. I cannot leave this place for long, I always need to be around to keep an eye on my stock."

WATCH: Free State black farmers: It’s not a race issue, we are all affected

Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa are the two men accused of killing Horner.

They are both no strangers to the courts as they have been arrested for stock theft before and received sentences under two years each.

But Mahlamba was released on bail.

Magistrate Deon Meyer: "In particular, no direct evidence was produced to link applicant number two to the commission of the crimes. Direct evidence, in the sense of eyewitness, etc, the result of the DNA swabs that were taken from the inside and outside of the bakkie of the deceased are inconclusive in so far as it relates to him."

There have been calls for lawmakers to reconsider the minimum sentence for stock theft as farmers, both white and black, said that their lives were constantly under threat.

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