A 65-year-old farmer in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands will spend the first few days of January in prison for allegedly murdering a man attending a funeral on his farm.
Edward Solomon appeared briefly in the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court after he was charged for the weekend murder which has outraged community members.
KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said his case was postponed for January 9 for a formal bail application.
“He is charged with murder and is currently in custody. (He) hasn’t pleaded.”
Mothi Ngubane, a man in his 40s, was attending his nephew’s funeral at the home of one of Solomon’s employees on his farm. According to reports, Solomon disrupted the funeral and asked the mourners to leave.
Unconfirmed video footage of the incident shows a man arguing with attendees, who ask him in vernacular to leave, which he refuses to do. The man, whom mourners refer to as “baba” (older person or father) is then seen putting his hand in his pocket. Then “we also have guns” is heard.
The murder has once again raised the heated topic of land ownership by minority races in South Africa. According to the Democratic Alliance, the incident could have been prevented if legislation was clearer or better enforced.
“It’s a tragedy… most certainly in terms of existing legislation farm workers have rights on land, especially residential rights,” MP Thomas Walters said.
“There is also proposed legislation that people have residential rights and rights of land use. There is the Extension of Security Tenure Act. There is a specific provision made for people where there are family cemeteries an for people to have the right to bury people and visit the grave.”
Walters pointed to the legislation accommodating both parties.
“In legislation there are rights. It’s balanced between the owner of the property’s rights and the rights of the farm dwellers.
“In general terms there is no such thing as ‘this is my property and nobody has any rights on it’. That is not how legislation or common law or the constitution works.”