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2023/07/31      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 31 July 2023- Four suspects aged between 16 and 19 years were arrested in less than two hours after they brutally murdered a 79 year old farmer Theo Frederik Bekker, injuring his wife, stealing three firearms and his vehicle in Grootvlei next to Balfour yesterday morning Sunday 30 July 2023 at about 08:30. It is alleged that the deceased was attacked by four suspects outside his house. They allegedly forced him back to the house where they demanded money and firearms.

It is further reported that the suspects assaulted both victims, husband and wife. The deceased was injured with an unknown object on his face as a result he succumbed to his injuries. He was certified dead on the scene by medical practitioners. The wife was then taken to hospital for medical treatment.

The house was ransacked and the suspects managed to make off with an undisclosed amount of cash, a  .22 pistol, 38 special revolver, a shotgun and the couple's Renault Kwid. Police were immediately informed after the suspects left the scene.  It is reported that the stolen vehicle overturned in Villiers in the Free State Province, about 25 kilometres from where it was stolen.

All occupants managed to jumped out of the overturned vehicle and allegedly run away from the scene. A community member who witnessed the accident notified Villiers SAPS who immediately launched a manhunt. All suspects were arrested shortly. Two of the stolen firearms a pistol and a revolver were found in their possession. The shotgun was allegedly left on the accident scene.

The four suspects will be charged for murder, assault with the intent to do grievous body harm and robbery.  They are expected to appear in Balfour Magistrate's Court tomorrow Tuesday 01 August 2023.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has strongly condemned the farm attack. "The positive contribution from the community member, Villiers and Grootvlei SAPS will not go unnoticed," concluded the General.