The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga province say they have launched a “frantic manhunt” after the “heartless” and “sad incident” in which a mother and son were murdered on Saturday, during a robbery on a farm outside Nelspruit.
Fifty-six-year-old Anna-Marie Botha and her 34-year-old son Ruan Britz (named as Rohn Britz by SAPS) were attacked and killed at the Valley Farm. A case of murder and robbery has been opened, and police have mobilised a 72-hour Activation Plan.
SAPS said in a statement that the Emergency Services received a call about 18h30 on Saturday, and found the two victims lying motionless when they got to the scene.
“The two seemed to have been hit with an object and unfortunately, they were certified dead at the scene. Police opened a murder case and preliminary investigation revealed that several items were stolen from the house hence an additional charge of robbery. A search for the suspects was immediately sanctioned. The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage,” said SAPS.
Mpumalanga police management expressed concern for the “senseless killings that take place in the farming sector and have strongly condemned this incident. The management indicated that this unfortunate incident occurred during the time whilst the country is still in shock after two people were recently murdered in Piet Retief” (which is also in Mpumalanga).
Acting Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Major General Thulani Phahla, said:
”These killings in the farms should immediately stop because that sector is the one that gives a boost into our economy. Even during the hard Lockdown, the sector was allowed to continue working so that there is no shortage of food as well as other supplies. All relevant resources in terms of the 72 Activation Plan has been mobilised and a solid investigation team has been established to bring the perpetrators to book.”
Dianne Kohler Barnard – Chairperson of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Rural Safety Workstream – said the DA strongly condemns the murders and pledged that the DA’s Mpumalanga Court Watching Briefs “will keep a close eye on this case in order to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to book”.
The DA has established court watching briefs in every province in the country. Just last week popular farmer Trevory Murphy was murdered on his farm in the KZN Midlands.
“The incidence of farm attacks across the country has increased dramatically in the past month,” says Barnard.
“The senseless killing of Mrs Botha and her son once again highlights the urgent need for strengthened and visible policing in our rural and farming communities. These communities are at constant risk of violent crimes and brutality.”
The DA reiterated its call on the police to introduce specialised rural safety units in these communities and for SAPS to urgently prioritise the implementation of its rural safety plan nationally.
Police appeal to anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of the suspects to call the Branch Commander, Detective Colonel Ernest Maoka at 0823189843 or call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111. Alternatively, members of the public can send information via MYSAPSAPP. All information received will be treated as confidential.