Racial antagonism flares over a veld fire

Racial antagonism flares over a veld fire

24 August 2011

published by www.thenewage.co.za

South Africa — The Schweizer-Reneke Magistrate’s Court granted R5000 bail each to two white farmers on Monday. They were arrested after what police believed was a racial clash with four local people over a veld fire in the area.

Police spokesperson Brig Thulane Ngubane said Attie Haasbroek, 58, and Henna Lochren, 63, beat up a man and three women they suspected of starting a veld fire. The four victims had to be treated for injuries at the Schweizer-Reneke Hospital.

The incident, which happened on Friday, left racial fires flaring in the small town as the community went on the rampage over the weekend.

“The two farmers were arrested for assault with the intent to do cause grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property,” said Ngubane.

“The matter arose after one of the farmers was driving between Amalia and Vryburg and noticed a fire. He allegedly came across a vehicle with four occupants and forced it off the road with the intent to stop it.

“The complainants alleged that the suspect fired a shot at their vehicle, damaging the back window,” he added. “They allegedly stopped and while still shocked, the suspect accused them of setting the veld alight.”

An argument allegedly then ensued, leading to a physical fight.

“Another farmer, who was also driving along that road, stopped and also joined in the fight with a view to assist his colleague.

“The four complainants were taken to Schweizer-Reneke Hospital with injuries,” Ngubane said.

Upon hearing of the incident, the Amalia community took to the streets, barricading the road linking Schweizer-Reneke and Pudimore with burning tyres.

They demanded the arrest of the second suspect.

Police apprehended him on Sunday.

“They are expected to be back in court on September 5. This is in order to allow the police to conduct further investigations in the case,” said Ngubane.

Meanwhile, the situation was said to be calm after police details were deployed to monitor the situation.

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