Sunday, 17 May 2009

Farmer dies in land claims 'hit'

14/05/2009 22:41 - (SA)

Sandile waka-Zamisa

Rietvlei - A KwaZulu-Natal midlands commercial farmer was ambushed and killed on Wednesday night, in what is believed to be a land claims dispute related hit, at his farm in Rietvlei. Bloemendal Estate farm owner, Alan Rowe, 58, was attacked by two assailants who had been hiding at a garage in his farm waiting for his return.

On his return home from a friend's house at 20:15, shots were fired at his Mazda Drifter bakkie. It is believed that there were two hit-men, one shooting from the left, while the other one hid in the garage and took cover behind a parked bakkie. A 9mm handgun and a Point 22 rifle was used.

A friend and neighbour, Gavin Hill who was first to arrive on the scene said he found his friend's jacket abandoned on the grass. "I believe he took off the jacket because it's a bright yellow colour and he thought his attackers would not see him in darker clothing." Unfortunately, his assailants caught up with him and gunned him down. He was shot twice in the chest, and one of the bullets went through his arm.

Not a robbery gone wrong

Hill believes Rowe's murder was a "planned hit", but there is no clarity on the real motive. "This was not a robbery gone wrong, it was not a hijacking gone wrong. They chased him, and hunted him down with the intent to kill a farmer." Police spokesperson, Henry Budhram said the killing is linked to land claims disputes but did not give details on the issue. Hill said according to his knowledge there was no land claim dispute about the farm.

The slain farmers's brother, Michael, also declined any land claims issues on the farm but said there were plans to sell the farm to a black buyer.

Rowe visited Hill and his partner Donna Lay on Wednesday at about 18:30. He left Hill's place at 20:30 and at 20:45 a foreman at their farm received a call about the shooting.

Hill and Lay rushed to the farm but when they arrived it was too late. "We grabbed the guns and came here, we found the bakkie with its lights on but he was nowhere to be found. We called him and heard his cellphone ringing from the grazing camp." Searching further down, they found his body.

The police are positive that the perpetrators will be found.

- The Witness


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