December 1, 2020

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Senekal unrest: Case against men linked to chaos postponed

2 min read

The two men accused of having played a critical role in the turmoil which unfolded in Senekal, Free State, has been postponed to 1 March 2021. This is to allow for further investigations into the matter.

The suspects, André Pienaar and Stephanus Johannes Fourie, made an appearance in the Senekal magistrate’s court on Friday, 20 November 2020.

The duo is accused of being a part of a group of angry protestors which caused mayhem outside the same court, where murder suspects were making an appearance. Pienaar, a local businessman, was the first to be arrested and was eventually released on R15 000 bail.

The judge also chastised the accused (Pienaar) for orchestrating a level of violence which ‘could have freed two dangerous suspects from their holding cells’. Pienaar was also accused of hitting a female police officer amid the chaos.

Pienaar suffers from bipolar disorder, a condition which his lawyers accused the judge of using against him.

Fourie subsequently was granted the same bail amount.

They face charges of attempted murder, public violence and incitement to commit violence.

Brendin Horner: Another ruthless farm murder

It was the killing of farm manager Brendin Horner which spurred the unrest in the small town. Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba are said to have strangled the 21-year-old man to death and stabbed him multiple times on 1 October. His lifeless body was tied to a pole and a rope was around his neck – the gruesome discovery was made by Horner’s own father, Robbie, on the DeRots farm outside Paul Roux.

His Toyota Hilux pickup truck was later found on the neighbouring farm, Duikfontein.

Chaos ensued when Mahlamba and Matlaletsa first made their appearance in court. Outraged farmers stormed the courthouse and even set fire to a police vehicle, which prompted condemnation.

The savage farm killing turned the town of Senekal on its head and ignited racial tensions.

It further put pressure on government to take action against murders on the country’s farms, which many have argued puts food security at risk. The incident also culminated in members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Afriforum facing off in counter demonstrations in the town.