All eyes turned to the village of Senekal on Friday, October 16, 300 kilometers south of Johannesburg, when two suspects reappeared for the murder of a white farmer. Brendin Horner, 22, was found strangled earlier this month, tied to a pole. His assassination sparked protests from white farmers and revived racial tensions in the country, reminding that the scars of apartheid are far from healed.
as reported from Johannesburg, Claire Bargelès
The two suspects, two black men aged 32 and 44, who already have multiple arrests, have pleaded guilty to the charges.
But it was first and foremost outside the courtroom that tensions worsened. Two camps faced each other: on the one hand groups defending white farmers who accused the government of not protecting them adequately and on the other hand, Fighters for Economic Freedom (EFF), Julius Malema’s radical left party, angry at the monopoly on wealth and land of the white minority. A large deployment of police made it possible to avoid overflows.
The subject is very sensitive in the country and the president Cyril Ramaphosa had also called for calm, afraid to see the resurgence of “the flame of racial hatred”.
While about 50 farmers have been killed since 2019, according to police, and rural safety is an issue that authorities promise to tackle, this violence represents only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 murders committed each year in a country victim of its very high crime rate.