14 June 2019

South Africa: Murdered Stellenbosch Farmer Was Looking to Move Family Abroad Because of Safety Concerns

Murdered Stellenbosch farmer Stefan Smit and a friend had been looking into safer countries abroad, concerned about the wellbeing of their families in crime-ridden South Africa.

Pieter Haasbroek, in his tribute at Smit's memorial service on Friday in the packed Moedergemeente in Stellenbosch, said the vintner had been stolen from the industry and had become the seventh person he personally knew who had died violently in this "evil" country.

"In South Africa, it's not the will of God. It was the will of the murderer that resulted in his death coming," Haasbroek said, before starting to cry.

He and Smit had considered Iceland and Uruguay as safe places to settle, with Haasbroek telling his friend to disregard New Zealand as it was "beautiful, but boring".

A visibly upset Haasbroek said not even the endless security measures Smit had on his property could keep his murderers from accessing his home.

The motive behind Smit's murder almost two weeks ago remains undetermined, with sources close to the case telling News24 that it didn't have the characteristics of a "typical" farm attack.

Four attackers

The house is understood to have been neat following the attack, and only two cellphones and a handbag are said to have been stolen.

Smit was shot after four men entered his home through an unlocked door. Smit, his wife Zurenah and a family friend had been having supper when the gunmen entered. He was shot multiple times in the head and upper body.

His wife and their guest were not injured.

The suspects escaped with their loot after bypassing security measures such as a double fencing system, electric fence and barbed wire.

No one has been arrested.

Authorities did not believe his murder was related to the sale of Watergang, adjacent to Louisenhof, which was occupied last year by backyarders from Kayamandi.

'Left a hole that no one can fill'

The municipality bought the land - renamed Azania - for R45 710 000.

Smit's family owned Watergang via a trust.

Azania community leader Midas Wanana previously said Smit's murder had been shocking and painful for the people of Azania.

Smit's friend, Murray Burger, who spoke on behalf of the Paul Roos Gymnasium Old Boys, said the town had lost a "wonderful person", recalling how the murdered farmer would on weekends invite homeless people to eat at the farm, while sharing the gospel.

He had a giving nature, Burger said, and had a diverse groups of friends from "all classes".

Deon Carinus, of the local agricultural society, said Smit's death had "left a hole that no one can fill".

Smit will have a private cremation.

Source: News24

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