In another of the tens of thousands of horrific armed black attacks against white farm families, a young South African veterinarian was shot dead in Limpopo province next to his nursing wife who was pistol-whipped.
Killed was Dr Paul Meyer, 38. He ran his veterinary practice from a farm near the Selati wildlife reserve in Limpopo province, next to the Mozambican border. Afrikaans journalist Virginia Keppler of Beeld newspaper reports that the young wife, Marilise Meyer, 34, was pistol whipped while she was breastfeeding her baby. The family had been kidnapped with friends Pierre and Sue Gallagher from their homestead kitchen with baby Wouter, 5 months. The four armed black attackers, who spoke a Mozambican language, carried AK47s.
They drove the five white kidnapped people towards the Mozambiquan border at breakneck speed in two farm vehicles which had been stolen from the farm. They stopped a few kilometres short of the border, dumped their kidnap victims next to the roadside, and removed the electronic tracking devices from the robbed farm vehicles.
While they were doing this, they also proceeded to pistol-whip Mrs Meyer while she was breastfeeding baby Wouter in a desperate attempt to keep the baby quiet. They also beat the young wife - who worked as a veterinary assistant at her husband's practice -- across the lower back with a monkey wrench.
Then they shot dead her unarmed husband Dr Paul Meyer, 38, execution style, while he had desperately tried to grab one of the guns from the attackers. The widow is now staying with friends in Gravelotte, where her husband's funeral takes place on Tuesday from the Dutch Reformed Church.
He is the 3,035 th white farm dweller to be murdered in South Africa since 1994. A week earlier at Hartbeespoort near the capitol city of Pretoria, the Raath family was also attacked at their homestead by knifemen who kept stabbing and beating them while screaming that they 'all had to die'. Nothing was robbed.
Mrs Corrie Raath and her husband Pieter said after their ordeal that they both believed that they would be killed there because these attackers had been 'very cruel and had clearly arrived just to kill us.' They were saved when flashing blue lights of an arriving private security guard's vehicle shone through their homestead windows and scared off their attackers. The couple's white German shepherd dog Terry was shot dead, and even their two kittens were slaughtered by the attackers.
Mrs Raath said: “they were very cruel, and had clearly arrived just to kill us. We are moving today. We can’t stay here any longer.' Police did trace down one of the attackers at a nearby squatter camp, said police inspector Moses Manaiwa.
Four days before this attack, 65-year-old livestock farmer David Greig was killed on the Hartzenbergfontein farm near Walkerville near Johannesburg - at exactly the same spot in the kitchen where his mother Hannah had also been shot dead by twelve armed attackers in 1996.
Afrikaans journalist Sonja van Buul of Beeld newsaper reported that Greig and wife Jeanette, 64, were awakened in their bedroom by an armed man who had broken into the homestead by force. "The armed man forced my mother-in-law to open the kitchen door for his two accomplices, who were waiting outside," said Tom Hendriks, their son-in-law on Tuesday. Hendriks said the mother-in-law couldn't find the keys to their gun-safe fast enough - so his father-in-law was shot execution style, once in the head and twice more for 'good measure', in the chest. Mrs Greig also was badly assaulted and stabbed with a knife. She has lost her hearing permanently because her eardrums burst during the beating.
"My father-in-law's mother, Hannah Greig, was shot and killed by robbers in exactly the same spot in 1996. It's so ironic," Hendriks said. The late Hannah Greig's attackers, a gang of twelve armed men, were caught by the then still operative police reservists' commando farm guard units.This gang is still in prison, serving a combined 175 years in jail.
Commercial farmers are increasingly leaving the South African countryside because of these war-like conditions in which they are forced to grow food. There are less than 11,600 commercial farmers remaining in South Africa now - down from 85,000 in 1994. More than one-million farm workers have also lost their jobs, and their families have lost their homes and were forced to move into squatter camps: about 5-million people all told.
Less than one percent of the total South African land-surface now is still in use for irrigated crop-farming, in a country which is so semi-arid that only about 6 percent of the entire surface could ever be used for staple crop-production in its entire agricultural history. Most of the countryside which once was farmed, now is idle and deserted.
Many of these mostly Afrikaner farmers have moved to other neighbouring African countries, often upon the invitation of those governments, because of their farming experience in the tough African conditions.
The commercial agricultural farmers' cooperative union Agri-SA meanwhile is also accusing the South African police of refusing to respond to many of these crime incidents on farms which are being reported by white families to them each day to make the crime-statistics look better for their police stations.
Agri-SA spokesman André Botha said that it was ' alarming that some police officers understate the serious nature of crimes so that the police station's crime solution figures look better."
This, Botha added, was an "economic sabotage" on the farming community as it defeated any crime-combating measures put in place.
"The increase in armed attacks, robbery and theft of farm products and implements holds serious financial implications for agriculture in our country. This high crime rate is experienced by the industry as economic sabotage," he said.