Torture in Koster farm attack not mere criminality – specialised units a must to stop this brutality

01 Oct 2021 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Leon Basson MP, DA North West Provincial Leader.

I was shocked to my core to learn of the horrific farm attack that took place in Koster. The hate-fuelled brutality and torture meted out on Chris and Hesta Barnard by three assailants for hours on Wednesday night must be condemned by all those who value basic human dignity.

The assailant made use of a wheel spanner and a whip in their assault. If this barbarism was not enough, the assailants burned Hesta with a hot iron and cut off her hair with a knife.

This kind of torture speaks of not only brutal criminality but also hatred towards people who live in rural areas who dedicate their sweat, blood, and tears, under harsh and unsafe conditions to put food on the tables of all South Africans.

Both Chris and Hesta are in hospital receiving treatment for their injuries.

On behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West, I wish both Chris and Hesta all the best on their long road to recovery.

The DA calls on the SAPS to make all resources available to ensure the arrest and successful prosecution of these hate-fuelled criminals.

The DA has long called on the national government, specifically on Police Minister Bheki Cele, to classify farm attacks as a priority crime and for the reintroduction of specialised rural safety units, equipped with the necessary equipment, technology, and manpower to bring an end to the scourge of farm attacks across South Africa.

Unfortunately, Police Minister Bheki Cele and the entire national government continue to sit idly by while residents in rural communities are subjected to the most despicable brutality.

Farm attacks cause massive devastation, pain, and suffering, not only to victims and their families but also cause lasting damage to close-knit rural communities.

Not only are lives lost, but with each brutal farm attack, there are fewer farmers willing to invest in working the land, producing food, and to employ people. And this is how small rural communities are slowly suffocating under criminality and economic decline.

This must be put to a stop. Minister Bheki Cele, we do not need any more promises, we need action.