Plan to prevent violent encounter as EFF, AfriForum descend on Senekal

 Police are putting in place strict measures to prevent a potentially violent confrontation between the EFF, minority rights group AfriForum and other Afrikaner formations.

The plan will see the EFF, AfriForum members and other Afrikaner groups being confined to separate areas in Senekal today, and will not be allowed to march or move.

Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and 44-year-old Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, both residents of Takalatse in Fateng-Tse-Ntsho township in Paul Roux, are due to appear before the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on charges of murdering farm manager Brendin Horner earlier this month.

Police also will not allow any people near the vicinity of the court and all roads around the court will be blocked off, according to information obtained by Independent Media.

The three groups will be confined to designated areas around the eastern Free State town and will not be allowed to march or move.

Police set up roadblocks at all entrances to Senekal on Thursday, stopping and searching vehicles.

The elder sister of one of the suspects Dimakatso Mahlamba, 41, told Independent Media on Thursday that she would not be able to attend the court hearing because she suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.

“It would hurt to see my brother in the dock, I’d probably collapse,” she said.

Their parents would not be present during court hearing as they were attending a relative’s funeral in QwaQwa.

However, two of Sekwetje’s six siblings would be in court today.

Dimakatso said Sekwetje has been arrested for stock theft before and assault.

However, she does not believe that her brother was capable of killing a person.

According to Dimakatso, her brother’s arrests only led to him being briefly held in police cells and he has never served a prison sentence for his crimes.

She said that Sekwetje has never worked all his adult life and that the family survived on their parents’ old age social grant.

Late on Thursday, EFF members in the Free State were driving around Senekal in a vehicle with huge speakers drumming up support for their planned action.

EFF leader Julius Malema told 24-hour TV news station Newzroom Afrika on Thursday the EFF was going to Senekal to protect democracy, the Constitution, which he said was “under threat by racist, terrorist farmers who go and attack a court of law and attack police stations”.

He said the move by farmers to storm the court last week was a declaration of war against the state.

“If the current regime can’t defend the state, we have a responsibility as peace-loving South Africans to defend our state against hooliganism, against terrorism,” he said.

AfriForum on Thursday said it was proceeding with its peaceful protest against farm murders and violence this morning.

Public order police units from Bloemfontein, Bethlehem, Selosesha in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, and Gauteng have been deployed in Senekal. A water cannon is on standby and police Nyalas were scheduled to barricade the court precinct with reams of barbed wire.

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said crime affected everyone and that the majority of its victims were black and poor, with young black men and women at a disproportionately greater risk of being murdered.

The president said while anger at the senseless killing was justifiable, vigilantism was not.

Political Bureau

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