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Man with illegal firearm arrested as crowds gather in Senekal for bail hearing of suspects

Iavan Pijoos Journalist
Bheki Cele
Image: Esa Alexander

One person has been arrested after being found in possession of an illegal firearm at a roadblock just outside Senekal in the Free State on Friday morning, police minister Bheki Cele confirmed. 

He said police started setting up roadblocks leading to the farming town on Thursday in anticipation of crowds attending the bail hearing  of Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa. The men are charged with the murder of 21-year old farm foreman Brendin Horner.

Cele said several people carrying firearms were asked to turn around. 

He said a video of a trunk full of firearms which trended on social media had not been established as authentic by the police. 

"Somebody might have edited old pictures. All relevant and capable structures that are here have not established that." 

The 21-year-old girlfriend of murder accused, Skwetja Mahlamba, has proclaimed his innocence, alleging she had a solid alibi for where he was on the night farm manager Brendin Horner was murdered. Horner's body was found tied to a farm gate after he was killed by unknown attackers on October 2 2020.

Earlier, EFF supporters shouted “shoot, shoot, shoot” during a tense stand-off between farmers, bikers and community members.

EFF supporters allegedly threw rocks, bricks and empty beer bottles at bikers who attempted to pass the main road of Senekal.

Members of the farming community across SA gathered in Senekal to raise awareness about farm attacks.

Cele said the head of police operations in Senekal had been working on using "a soft approach" over the past few days.

"We have agreed we will have to use a soft approach, unless you are pushed to arrest people, including the clashes that happened earlier. It's not a picnic. People would have behaved that way."

State security minister Ayanda Dlodlo said there had not been "worrisome" incidents in the town on Friday. 

Dlodlo commended the police for handling the situation "very well".


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