A Hartswater farmer, who allegedly chased and drove over an EFF member with his 4X4 bakkie in an apparent racial incident, has handed himself over to the police.
The deputy secretary of the EFF in ward five in Hartswater, Shimmy Mosienyane, is expected to undergo surgery in the Kimberley Hospital on Thursday after his spinal cord was severed in the incident.
The 63-year-old farmer handed himself over on Monday after the police launched a manhunt following the alleged incident that happened on Friday.
Speaking from his hospital bed on Monday, Mosienyane said that he had been taking part in the service delivery protests in Hartswater when the police started dispersing community members with the use of stun grenades and rubber bullets.
“Together with a friend, I was running away from the police and we were heading for the location. We saw a bridge on the farm and decided to use the bridge as we thought it would be quicker,” Mosienyane said.
He said that while they were in the middle of the veld, they noticed a bakkie speeding towards them.
Mosienyane indicated that he had believed at the time that the bakkie would drive past them.
“Instead, the driver stopped the bakkie in front of us and a farmer got out. Using the K-word and shouting at us, the farmer asked what we were doing on the farm. We told him that we were running from the police. As he got back into the bakkie, he again used the K-word and ordered us off the farm.
“When we started walking again, he chased us with the bakkie and we tried to run away. We split up and the farmer chased me into the lucerne field.
“When I realised that he was going to hit me, I darted out of range and he missed. He attempted again to hit me and the third time he managed to hit me.”
Mosienyane said that while he was lying on the ground, the farmer threatened to kill him.
“The farmer got out and said he would kill me, again using the K-word. I told the farmer to phone for an ambulance because I couldn’t feel my feet. He told me to call my people, stating that they were standing there, watching me. I lifted my head and could see a group of people quite far away. They had seen what had happened and were shouting at the farmer.”
According to Mosienyane the farmer got back into his bakkie and tried to drive over his friend. “He didn’t move out of the way and the driver stopped the bakkie right in front of him.”
He added that when the crowd moved closer to help him, the farmer sped off.
“I was still lying on the ground at the time and although I couldn’t see any physical injuries, I couldn’t feel my feet,” said Mosienyane.
An ambulance was called and Mosienyane was transported to the Hartswater hospital before being transferred to Kimberley the same day.
Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, on Monday confirmed that the farmer was facing a charge of attempted murder.
“The suspect handed himself over at the local police station this morning (on Monday) at about 10.30am. He was charged with attempted murder and was taken into custody. This comes after the farmer allegedly ran over a protester on his farm on Friday, April 21. He is expected to appear in court soon,” said Kock.
EFF councillor Frances Thulo said on Monday that the party would mobilise its members for the accused’s court appearance.
“We cannot allow people to carry on as though we are still living in apartheid times. This man must be charged for what he has done. We will support our fighter by filling the court to capacity and we urge the community to join us in this fight,” said Thulo.
The provincial secretary of Cosatu, Anele Gxoyiya, said that they were not aware of the incident but would give a statement after gathering more information.
“We note that there was an incident and that protesters ran onto the farm to flee from the police. If this was merely an accident then we understand. However, we condemn the incident if it is found that this was a deliberate act. We will have to get to the bottom of the matter and will issue a statement later,” said Gxoyiya.
The general manager of Agri Northern Cape, Henning Myburgh, said they hoped that the law would take its course.
“We do not have the latest update on the incident but we are aware of it. We will issue a statement once we have been informed about the latest developments on the matter. The law must take its course. The legal process must be applied and the police are very capable of doing that,” said Myburgh.
The ANC in the Northern Cape also indicated that the legal process should be concluded speedily.
“This very unfortunate matter is now with the police after the suspect handed himself over. We wish the patient a speedy recovery and call on the police to speedily conclude the case,” said the party.