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Couple survive farm attack

The Mercury

22 Jul 2020

KAILENE PILLAY

MOOI River vet Dr Allen Still is recovering in hospital after he and his wife were attacked on their farm on Monday night.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele, three men barged into the couple’s farmhouse at about 8pm and assaulted them.

“They assaulted a 31-year-old man and took cash as well as a Bluetooth speaker,” Mbele said.

The assailants fled the scene on foot, and Still was taken to hospital for medical attention.

Mbele said Mooi River police were investigating a case of house robbery.

DA spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development in KwaZuluNatal, Chris Pappas, said he had visited Still and his wife, Isla, in hospital.

Pappas said Still had been injured on his head and elsewhere on his body and that the couple were “visibly shaken”.

“The growing number of incidents in rural and farming communities should be a concern for all South Africans,” Pappas said.

“Not only are we witnessing brutal attacks against fellow citizens, but if these trends continue we are putting our food security at risk.”

He said the rising criminality in the farming and rural communities had to be a priority for the government.

Pappas added that the DA had put forward a number of solutions that could help to curb the trends.

They included directly subsidising security initiatives in rural and farming communities, such as farm watches and patrols, utilising technology, such as drones and licence plate recognition cameras, in rural areas and categorising farm attacks and murders as hate crimes.

Sandy la Marque of the KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) said Kwanalu condemned the latest attack.

“The brazen attack on a vet and his family is unacceptable,” La Marque said.

“Crime across KwaZulu-Natal increasing unabated.  Covid-19 has become an excuse for many not to extend the arm of the law and has become a tool for criminals to perpetrate crimes against rural occupants. It is essential that a firm and committed approach is taken to address the lawlessness that is prevailing. Kwanalu will continue to work closely with all stakeholders and seek urgent outcomes which benefit those in rural areas.”