Western Cape police on Monday said they were searching for four suspects who allegedly shot and killed the owner of Louisenhof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, during a house robbery.
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, said the circumstances surrounding a house robbery and a murder were being investigated following an incident that took place on Sunday evening at around 6:50pm on a farm in the Stellenbosch area.
Stefan Smit, 62, was shot and killed in his house after armed suspects entered the victim’s house through an unlocked door.
“His wife and a family friend who were present at the time of the incident both survived the attack. The suspects fled with personal belongings and are yet to be arrested. Any person who can assist police with our investigation is kindly requested to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111,” said Traut.
Smit’s farm was invaded in August 2018 when hundreds of residents of nearby Kayamandi and surrounds started erecting informal housing and shacks on the property.
Smit interdicted further occupation of his property and authorities evicted the illegal occupiers shortly afterwards.
Western Cape MEC for Agriculture Ivan Meyer, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz and Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality Gesie Deventer and other roleplayers such as Agri Western Cape, the Stellenbosch Landbou Genootskap and the Devon Valley Farmer’s Association met on Monday.
“An attack on a farmer or an agri worker is an attack on our rural economy and we must put a stop to this. We must defend our rural economy against crime and lawlessness,” said Meyer.
The group called for the establishment of specialised SAPS rural safety units, the creation of a rural intelligence centre and engaging the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prioritise serious cases of criminality.
According to Meyer’s office, among other things which were resolved was that a meeting would be convened by the Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Thursday with the executive of Agri Western Cape.
Fritz will meet with the provincial police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula on Monday afternoon and rural safety will be placed at the top of the agenda of all future Provincial Joints Safety Meetings which will also be attended by Meyer and Fritz.
Echoing his colleague, Fritz said: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the Smit family on their loss. We cannot tolerate attacks on our farmers, agri workers and communities. Our farms are the breadbaskets and provide a livelihood to the many surrounding it.
“As a society, we need to change the narrative on safety at the macro level to ensure community buy-in. We cannot rely on SAPS and government alone. I will further be arranging a conference with various municipalities to establish a network of safety for our rural communities.”
Van Deventer expressed her condolences and thanked the MECs for convening the meeting at such short notice. She further requested that any person with any information regarding these attacks should contact the Stellenbosch SAPS at 021 809 9140/2.
– African News Agency (ANA)