Calls to safeguard agri-workers after ‘horrific’ murder on farm

A farmer was murdered and his wife assaulted on their farm outside VanRyhynsdorp.

A farmer was murdered and his wife assaulted on their farm outside VanRyhynsdorp.

Published Dec 21, 2023


Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer has condemned the murder of farmer Willem van der Westhuizen and the assault on his wife, Christine, in an attack on their farm outside VanRyhynsdorp.

“I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and the community of VanRynsdorp.

“The senseless, violent attacks on our producers and agri-workers must be condemned.

This horrific act of violence comes at a time when many South Africans are preparing to spend time with their loved ones and extending a hand of peace and friendship to friends and their communities,” Meyer said.

“Sadly, for the family, friends and community of VanRynsdorp, this cowardly act has brought great pain and is a grim reminder that we must remain vigilant,” added Meyer.

The agricultural sector plays a key role in job creation and the livelihood of many in the province, Meyer said. The Matzikama Municipality contributed R5.7 billion in 2021 to the West Coast economy. Agriculture is the leading formal employer on the West Coast with over 2 300 jobs created by the sector.

Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen meanwhile said the provincial government has made a commitment that its K9 and Rural Safety Units would be more visible throughout the festive season.

Between December 4 and 17, the Mossel Bay, Overstrand and Swartland K9 Units, in partnership with the Rural Safety Units (RSUs) in the Overstrand and Swartland areas, various other municipal law enforcement agencies and police, arrested 57 individuals for various crimes.

“Of these, 32 were apprehended in the Overstrand municipal area, three were arrested in Mossel Bay and 22 in the Swartland area.

In total, 18kg of dagga was confiscated in the past two weeks along with more than 726 mandrax tablets.

Other contraband such as West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL), their tails and abalone were also confiscated.

“These results are testament to their activity and effective execution. We extend our gratitude to them for their continued effort. I want to encourage our residents to continue working and supporting our units, as it is through collaboration that we will be able to achieve greater successes.”

Cape Times