Farmer is arrested over two workers tied to roof

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

A Limpopo farmer has been arrested for allegedly assaulting two of his employees, whom he had chained to a storeroom roof in Thabazimbi after accusing them of stealing liquor, Sowetan learnt yesterday.

The 36-year-old man, who may not be named pending his court appearance, also owns a lodge in the area.

The incident allegedly happened on Monday after the two workers, a man and a woman, were found hanging from a roof at Sweethome Lodge at Kaaldraai, near Thabazimbi.

The farmer had initially accused the two workers of stealing but did not specify what items had been stolen.

The victims were identified as Lucky Mafoka, 31, and Morongwa Joyce Sekoba, 34.

Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo said yesterday that preliminary investigations had revealed that the victims' "sin" was to drink the liquor left over by patrons at the lodge.

He said the farmer tied the two together to the roof of the storeroom, assaulted them and poured water over them.

The victims were rescued by members of a security company who had gone to the lodge after being called by the farmer.

Concerned at the treatment that was meted out to the victims, the guards took the two workers to the local police station for them to open a case.

Mafoka and Sekoba had spent the night dangling from chains on the rafters.

Their hands were swollen when they were rescued.

Mojapelo said the farmer could not appear in court yesterday as police were still investigating the matter before formally charging him.

He is expected to appear in the Thabazimbi magistrate's court today.

"The 36-year-old farmer arrested in connection with chaining two of his employees to a roof will be charged formally today.

"He will face two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm," Mojapelo said.

"We are worried that people could go through such a harsh punishment for helping themselves to leftovers.

"But we will do our utmost best to get to the bottom of the matter to find out the real motive for the farmer's actions."