Brand family farm murder delayed due to DNA
Farm couple Danie Brand, 83, (right) and wife Breggie, 73, (centre) and their daughter Elzabie, 54. All three were kidnapped and murdered while Elzabie was visiting her parents for the weekend at their farm in Hartswater, Northern Cape, South Africa.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape will appeal to the South African Police Service (SAPS) to urgently consider engaging with private laboratories to assist with the backlog in DNA testing that threatens to delay justice in the Brand farm murder case.

Retired couple – Daniel (Danie) Brand, 82, his wife Hybrecht (Breggie), 73 – and their daughter Elizabeth (Elzabie), 53, (who was visiting for Sunday lunch) were attacked and kidnapped from their smallholding near Hartswater in July 2020. Elzabie’s body was found a half-hour’s drive from the home. Her parents’ bodies were found a further 10 minutes away.

Since August last year, the DA has been attending the court proceedings and monitoring the appearances of the accused in the triple murder case of Danie, Breggie and Elzabie Brand in Hartswater.

“Today’s postponement of the bail hearing has once again failed to bring any true consolation to the remaining family, the local community and especially the farming community, in the midst of escalating farm attacks, with the bail hearing unfortunately being postponed due to the Covid-19 related ill health of the lawyer of three of the accused,” said Reinette Liebenberg, DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development and Nature Conservation, in a statement on Thursday.

She said while Covid-19 repercussions are out of anyone’s control, what especially concerns the DA is that the DNA results have still not been availed to the investigating officers by the SAPS Forensics Services Division. The murders took place in July last year (2020).

A parliamentary reply in December showed that the backlog in DNA samples at the National Forensic Science Laboratories stood at 117 736. “We would not want this backlog to delay justice in the Brand murder case,” said Liebenberg.

While the bail hearing has been postponed until 4th March 2021, Liebenberg says: “Given the urgency of the situation, I will escalate this matter to DA Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield, as well as the DA’s Court Watching Briefs Unit, to further drive on a parliamentary level. I will also communicate with the acting provincial commissioner, Major General Henriette de Waal, asking for an intervention in the outstanding DNA test results, to prevent further delays.

“Without efficient forensic services, criminals cannot be brought to book and tackling farm murders will remain yet another unfulfilled promise by government.”