South Africa

Suspect connected to Odendaalsrus farm murder through DNA

dna testing evidence

In a breakthrough development, a suspect has been linked to a farm attack in Odendaalsrus in the Free State that resulted in the tragic death of a farmer.

The incident occurred on 11 November 2020, when 55-year-old Mark Regal was reportedly shot dead on his father’s farm by two assailants. One of the attackers was also shot and died at the scene.

DNA evidence

Police spokesperson, Captain Stephen Thakeng, explained that after an extensive investigation into the murder, a suspect has been identified and connected to the crime scene through DNA evidence.

“The individual in question is a 45-year-old prisoner awaiting trial, who was already in custody for a business robbery committed in Odendaalsrus. He has been detained since 2021 in connection with the aforementioned robbery,” he said.

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Thakeng said the suspect, Khulekani Kaizer Mthethwa (45), has been charged with the murder of Regal. He made an appearance in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court on Friday (26 May 2023). The case was postponed until 2 June 2023 to allow for a bail application.

According to AfriForum’s farm murder report covering the first quarter of 2023, a troubling number of incidents occurred between January and March, with at least 77 farm attacks reported, nine of which resulted in fatalities. The report, which was released on Monday, examined the confirmed farm attacks during the initial three months of 2023.

Lack of improvement in farm attacks

AfriForum has expressed concern over the latest figures, highlighting the lack of improvement in farm attack rates when compared to the same period in 2022. In 2023, 77 attacks were documented, with nine resulting in deaths. This contrasts with the 80 attacks, including 11 murders, reported during the first quarter of 2022.

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The recently released report from AfriForum sheds light on the geographical distribution of these attacks. Gauteng recorded the highest number of incidents, followed closely by the North West province. Additionally, the report underscores that the majority of victims were aged over 60, with most attacks occurring on Saturdays.

The report also claims that out of the 77 incidents documented, only nine suspects have been apprehended thus far.