May 15 2009 at 10:25AM
By Sharika Regchand
Unresolved land claim issues could have been the motive for Wednesday night's murder of a 57-year-old farmer at Bloemendal farm, at Rietvlei, near Howick, say police.
Alan Rowe had been shot twice in the upper body at about 8.30pm. A source close to the investigation said he had been threatened previously by farm dwellers living on his property.
The vice-chairperson of the Mooi River Farmers' Association, Peter Ward, said the murder raised fears of further violence. "This is something that can only get worse unless the government deals with it," he said.
Ward added that several land claims in the area were "dragging on for too long" and that the government should address them immediately.
Investigations had established that Rowe had been returning home from visiting another farmer in the area. He was alone at the time.
"It is believed that Rowe was approaching his shed in his vehicle when he was confronted by an unknown person, who fired shots in his direction," Police Superintendent Henry Budhram said.
Budhram said Rowe got out of his vehicle and tried to drag himself into his house, but collapsed and died. A neighbour had heard the gunshots and called the police.
Police appealed to anyone with information to contact Constable Bonginkosi Dlamini, of the Rietvlei Detective Services, at 033 417 0712 or 073 324 1974, or to supply information anonymously to Crime Stop at 08600 10111.
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on May 15, 2009