Siyabonga Goodman Macu, 29, revoked his right to bail in the Newcastle Magistrates court yesterday when he appeared briefly in connection with the murder of Glen and Vida Rafferty on their farm outside nearby Normandien on August 29.

Macu, who faces two counts of murder, and robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery charges, told the court it would not be in his best interests to be granted bail now.

The case will resume on 29 October.

Before the bail hearing, a small group of farmers, farmworkers and community members gathered to sing the national anthem and hold up placards calling for an end to farm murders, and corruption, and for the reinstitution of the rule of law.

After the hearing, another group gathered under the leadership of a man named Lucky Shabalala, wearing an Economic Freedom Fighters hat, and chanted: ‘Phansi amabhunu, phansi!’ (Down with farmers!).

As I began filming their demonstration, a member of the Landless People’s Movement, Jabulani Radebe, joined by several others – including members of the South African Police Service – intervened to say I should stop filming.

The murder of Glen and Vida Rafferty has moved the Newcastle community, and caught the country’s imagination.

A stark picture of racial tension in the region was presented in a recent imbizo under police minister Bheki Cele by one participant who claimed that ‘all our problems come from white people’. Cele’s response was that he was ‘not afraid’ of white people.

In contrast, an earlier peaceful protest, supported by some 3 000 people from across creed, colour and class lines, called for peace and harmony and the rule of law.

The investigation into the Rafferty murder continues, as police reportedly believe more than one person was involved.



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