Watch Hartswater Video as hundreds of people gathered on Thursday morning to raise their voices about the murder of Dan and Breggie Brand and their daughter Elzabie this past weekend. Members of the community gathered from Jan Kempdorp, Magogong, and Hartswater in their farm bakkies, cars, trucks, and even on their tractors at the Hartswater Magistrate’s Court.
The suspects were arrested late Monday night and a fifth suspect was arrested on Tuesday. Some of the suspects allegedly admitted to killing the couple and their daughter and then started pointing out to the police where the bodies could be found.
The five suspects arrested in connection with the murders of the Brand family are expected to appear in that court on Thursday.
The community handed over a memorandum to the public prosecutor in court demanding that farm attacks and murders end and that bail not be granted to the five suspects.
We reported earlier that the Brand couple’s bodies were found in the vicinity of the Takaneng settlement in Taung in the North West on Tuesday afternoon. Elzabie’s body was earlier found in the same area.
The Vaalharts Community Safety Unit and the Northern Cape Agricultural Union have joined forces to organize the protest. After meetings with the police, the traffic department, and the Hartswater Magistrate’s State Prosecutor, approval was given that the gathering could continue.
“The entire Vaalharts community was shaken by the Brand family’s brutal murders. It happened in the blink of an eye here under our noses.
We will no longer tolerate farm attacks and murders, ”says Frederik van Zyl, security representative of the Vaalharts community safety unit.
According to Van Zyl, members of the community gathered at 07:30 in front of the hospital in Jan Kempdorp, at the Amaglug filling station in Hartswater and at the showground in Magogong. They moved from there in their vehicles to Hartswater Magistrate’s Court. Members of the community affixed banners depicting their dissatisfaction with farm attacks to their cars and waved them along the road.
The cars drove around the magistrate’s court for almost an hour. They then met at the Bean restaurant and in front of the Hartswater Klein Kerkie, where they are now waiting for the magistrate’s ruling.
The rules for the protest were clearly set out in advance for those who wanted to take part in the protest. Only two people, with masks, are allowed by car. Firearms, hate speech or offensive banners or notices are prohibited. Philip Schutte (27), a Vaalharts resident who took part in the protest, says he feels proud to be part of the protest as a South African.
“We are furious and at a loss. I decided to take part in the protest because it is our own people who are being attacked and killed. Even though not everyone is family or acquaintances, all our farmers are family. Without them, the country would not be able to go forward, ” he said.
His brother, Marius (30), who also took part in the protest, says it was great to see how such a small community can stand together. He says the protest was peaceful and well organized. “It is not necessary to burn or break things during a protest. Traffic was stopped a bit, but there was no violence or damage to property. Everyone is calm and is here for one reason, ”he says.
The two brothers say they hope the protest creates awareness. “Farm attacks and murders are only getting worse and occur more frequently. So something drastic needs to be done about it. The world must begin to realize what is going on in our country. Our farmers live in fear daily; they go to sleep with the thought that something can happen through the night and these days just through the day, ”says Philip.
The court later the morning ruled that the hearing was postponed to the 13th of August 2020