Home News #FarmAttack Fourth suspect arrested, elderly NC couple still missing

#FarmAttack Fourth suspect arrested, elderly NC couple still missing

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The police and the Vaalharts community forum are still searching for Danie Brand, 83, and his wife, Breggie Brand, 79.

The Brand family. Picture: Supplied

SHOCK waves are rippling through the Northern Cape following the brutal attack and abduction of an elderly couple and their daughter at their smallholding in Magogong near Hartswater on Sunday. 

The police and the Vaalharts community forum are still searching for Danie Brand, 83, and his wife, Breggie Brand, 79. 

The body of their daughter, Elzabie Brand, 50, was found in a field near Takaneng village in Taung on Tuesday. 

Northern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said that a fourth suspect was arrested on Tuesday morning.

“The police arrested a 20-year-old suspect.”

This follows the earlier arrest of a 42-year-old woman and two men, aged 18 and 19 respectively.

The suspects were arrested after two of the vehicles that were stolen from the smallholding were recovered. 

A Nissan Micra was found abandoned at Majaneng village in Taung, while the police stopped a grey Mazda CX-5 at a roadblock, where they arrested the three occupants – the 42-year-old woman and two men.

The chairperson of the DA Rural Safety Workstream, Dianne Kohler Barnard, on Tuesday condemned the farm attack.

Kohler Barnard indicated that Elzabie was visiting her parents (Danie and Breggie), who were retired farmers, at the time of the incident. 

“It was only the following day, after repeated calls, that their house was visited and the alarm was raised. 

“Early this morning the daughter’s body was found, but her parents have not yet been located at the time of writing, although helicopters (one from the SAPS) are currently searching.” 

Kohler Barnard extended her condolences to the family of the deceased.

“The community is reeling in shock at this evil crime.” 

She urged all South Africans to sign an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling on him to take urgent action to address the spate of farm attacks in the country. 

“Farm attacks and murders must be taken as seriously as gender-based violence and highly-trained specialised units must patrol and prevent these attacks before they occur.

“Farmers, farm workers, and their families, who work 24/7 to put food on our tables, also have the right to live and work in safety.”

Agri Noord-Kaap chairperson of rural safety and stock theft, Joe Scholtz, also condemned the horrific attack on the Brand family. 

“Nothing can justify the lawless and barbaric act that was meted out on the elderly couple and their daughter.” 

He expressed concern over criminals who targeted the vulnerable and elderly, especially in the agricultural community. 

“No one can afford to let down their guard or consider themselves to be safe, even in their own homes. The police require the assistance of the community and agricultural unions in securing the safety of land and communities.

“We welcome the arrests that were made and thank the Vaalharts community rural safety unit for their assistance.”  

Agri Noord-Kaap president Nicol Jansen called for calm and pointed out that this attack had occurred in the midst of increasing unemployment, poverty and a state of moral degeneration.  

The Freedom Front Plus branch chairperson in Hartswater, Theo Joubert, believed that farm attacks were being used as a front for the commission of other crimes. 

“The attack is a huge setback for the agricultural community. Magogong lies on the border between the Northern Cape and the North West. There was recently another farm attack nearby at Reivilo while another incident took place last week.” 

The chairperson of the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, welcomed the arrests of four suspects following their alleged involvement in the robbery, kidnapping and murder. 

“The suspects must face the full might of the law and our justice system must send out a strong message that there is no place in our democracy for such callous and inhumane acts.

“We have repeatedly condemned attacks on farms and farmers as acts of gross criminality that is detrimental to the social cohesion that our young democracy needs. We appeal to the SAPS to leave no stone unturned to find the missing couple and to bring the alleged perpetrators of this heinous crime to book.” 

Mandela appealed to farmers, farm dwellers and rural communities to always be on the alert and to inform intelligence of any potential threat in order to reduce incidents of violent crime on farms.

The Northern Cape MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mase Manopole, condemned the kidnapping and killing on the smallholding. 

She urged the community to report any information that they might have to the police and conveyed her condolences to family and friends of the Brands on the loss of their loved one.

“The department is working closely with various stakeholders in the agricultural sector and the police to put a stop to the killing of farmers. Farmers are economic drivers of our Province and need to be protected at all times.” 

The police are appealing to anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Information can also be sent to the MySAPS app.