There was a show of unity among farmers in the Midlands at the memorial service of Mpozana Khumalo, 80.
Khumalo, a livestock farmer, was robbed and tied to a tree before he was shot in the chest. He had been checking on the family cattle, sheep and goats grazing on the leased Springwater farm when he was attacked on November 17.
Khumalo died 10 days later after undergoing an operation at a hospital. His funeral was held at his home in Muden yesterday. A memorial service was also held for him on Thursday, where several farmers gathered to pay tribute to Khumalo.
Khumalo’s son, Robert, also a farmer, told the Sunday Tribune he could not believe it when he was told that his father had been attacked and left for dead and his belongings stolen.
“We do not understand why one would kill a defenceless man. We hope the police find the suspects,” said Robert.
Graham Armstrong, of the Upper Midlands Agricultural Transformation Initiative, who spoke at a memorial service held on Thursday for Khumalo, said farmers were shocked and saddened by the “senseless killing which has robbed them of a farmer”.
He said the death of farmers could lead to famine and there would be no one to produce food.
“Farmers are now vigilant after several incidents of crime have led to more deaths in the Midlands. Khumalo’s family have been farming on different farms. We as farmers are pained.
Farmers are more vigilant after several incidents of crime led to more deaths Graham Armstrong UMATI SPOKESPERSON
the old man’s brutal death. Police need to protect us from criminals including livestock thieves,” said Armstrong.
Jabulani Arthur Mthembu, president of the African Farmers’ Association of SA said he was shocked by Khumalo’s death. He said farmers were always targeted because of being sparsely populated.
“After tying him to a tree they should have stolen the cattle and left him alone. They killed an old man who could not defend himself or resist against his attackers just for some lousy cash and a cellphone,” he said.
Mthembu applauded the Midlands farmers for showing unity and support through transformation. He said it was important for farmers to stick together irrespective of race, colour and creed because crime knew no colour. He dismissed others for always sowing racial division by claiming that there was a genocide of white farmers.
He said he had met with Police Minister Bheki Cele to share his concern about the lack of safety on the farms. He said the meeting was a success and a memorandum of understanding was signed.
“I also raised with him our concern that police should treat all farmers equally regardless of race. Farmers should also be fair and compassionate to their workers to avoid tension which may result in conflict.”
Police provincial spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed that a case of murder was being investigated by police. She said two suspects shot Khumalo.
“They also robbed him of his cellphone and cash before fleeing the scene. He sustained a gunshot wound on the right side of the chest and was taken to hospital for medical attention. On 27 November 2020, the victim died in hospital. The matter is under investigation.
Source: Independent Online