The Stellenbosch farming community are reeling after the murder of popular Mooiberge Strawberry farmer, Jeffrey Zetler (62), on Saturday.
Zetler was reportedly transporting his workers home after paying them salaries when the attack occurred.
Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk told IOL that Zetler was driving his workers home in a bakkie, after paying them their wages, when the incident occurred.
“The witness noticed a white Toyota Quantum following them before two unidentified males approached him and one of them brandished a firearm while the other wielded a knife,” van Wyk told IOL.
The suspects threatened the workers and Zetler, then instructed him to go back to the office to open the safe. Shortly after robbing him, they stabbed him and fled the scene.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, they attempted CPR on Zetler but it was unsuccessful. Police are investigating a case of murder and robbery.
Mooiberge strawberry farm is a staple Cape Town tourist spot for picking strawberries and enjoying a leisurely afternoon with children. The farm also suppliesWoolworths and Pick n Pay with fresh produce.
In June, AgriSA reported that farm murders were at their lowest numbers in the past two decades in South Africa.
The agricultural industry body released a report titled “Farm Attacks: One of Agriculture’s Challanges” on 1 June, which made use of crime statistics collected from the database of South African Police Services (SAPS) to draw this conclusion.
The statistics reflected that a total of 47 farm murders took place between 2017 and 2018, with a total of 561 farm attacks occurring in this time period as well.
Kobus Visser, AgriSA Rural Safety Director, said that those who live in rural areas are much more vulnerable to being victims of farm attacks or murders as police often have lengthy response times due to the remoteness of farms.
Gauteng has the highest farm murder rate with 69 murders, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the North West Province with 61 murders.