NATIONAL NEWS - An elderly farm foreman was stabbed, tied up, tortured and almost drowned in a septic tank in a gratuitous attack on a farm in Zastron in the Free State on Sunday.
Simon Makhotha, 77, managed to free himself after being overwhelmed by three armed attackers. He was eventually found by neighbouring workers and taken to hospital.
The attack has been strongly condemned by Free State Agriculture (FSA), whose regional safety representative Marthin de Kock said it “shocked the farming community”.
FSA said the attackers surprised Makhotha at around 20:00 on Sunday evening.
He was assaulted and stabbed, before the attackers tried to drown him in the farmhouse septic tank. He was kicked and pelted with stones when he resisted keeping his head under the sewage water.
The farm is owned by an emerging black farmer who does not live on the property.
De Kock voiced his disappointment at local authorities’ tardy assistance, saying that after Makhotha’s attack was reported to police, they were unable to get to the scene, citing that no vehicles were available to respond.
“All persons living and working on farms are exposed to the growing danger of crime in rural areas,” De Kock said.
The FSA said the lack of manpower and police vehicles in rural areas had been an issue for farming communities for years, but that it had not yet been addressed by government.
The availability of police vehicles forms part of the South African Police Service’s (Saps’) national rural safety strategy. After Sunday’s attack, however, FSA vice-president Tommie Esterhuyse said discussions had already begun with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in the latest attempt to address this issue.
The FSA said that it was becoming “increasingly clear that the farming community is on their own”.