JOHANNESBURG — The suspects in the murder of a white farmer in South Africa last year that sparked rioting and fueled weeks of racial tensions were found not guilty on Friday, according to local media.
Riots broke out in October of last year as a result of the murder of Brendin Horner, whose body was discovered at his farm in the Free State province tied to a pole.
These were followed by a confrontation between white protesters and black Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) counter-protesters at Senekal, a town in the centre of South Africa close to the scene of the murder.
Judge Cagney Musi ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba of murder, robbery, and theft.
White minority activist groups in South Africa promote the idea that white farmers are victims of a “white genocide,” despite the fact that white farmers make up a very small percentage of all murder victims in South Africa.
Murders on farms, the vast majority of which are owned by white people, are a contentious issue in that country.
In an effort to address the severe economic disparities that persist 27 years after the end of white minority rule, the government is getting ready to discuss a long-awaited bill to expropriate white-owned land without compensation next month.
The bill has become a flashpoint for the racial tensions that were highlighted by Horner’s murder.