farm murders

Seven people were murdered at a farm near Kestell, Free State. Image: Unsplash.

Farm murders: Two arrested after missing farmer’s dead body was found

Two suspects were arrested after police found the body of Themba Vilikazi on Tuesday. The 54-year-old farmer has been missing since March.

farm murders

Seven people were murdered at a farm near Kestell, Free State. Image: Unsplash.

Themba Isaac Vilikazi disappeared in March. The 54-year-old farmer told his family that he had to go meet someone in Standerton, Mpumalanga and that was the last time they saw him. His body was found in a donga near Vrede, Free State, on Tuesday, 18 May, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS).


According to Mpumalanga SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the 54-year-old mysteriously disappeared on 25 March. Vilikazi told his family that he was heading to Standerton Police Station after he received a phone call from someone who introduced themselves as an officer of the law.

The farmer left his home in a white Toyota bakkie, with a KTC 469 MP license plate, to go meet the supposed police officer. Vilikazi’s family reported him missing after they made several failed attempts t contact him via cellphone.

Hlathi said police launched an investigation that shed more light on Vilikazi’s disappearance and on Tuesday, they made a breakthrough when two suspects – aged 32 and 33 – were arrested in Standerton.  

During the arrest, property belonging to the missing farmer was found in possession of one of the suspects while the other told police where the body was buried. “Vilikazi’s white Toyota bakkie… has not yet been found though,” said Hlathi.


Major General Thulani Phala, the acting commissioner in Mpumalanga, praised the police’s “hard work.”

“We are adamant that the investigation will progress very well to ensure that justice is served for the murdered farmer,” said Phala. “We believe the arrests will send a stern warning to farm murderers that we coming for them.”

Another farmer, Hennie Moldenhaver, 58, was murdered on Sunday, 16 May at Weiland Farm in Amersfoort – a small town in Mpumalanga.

The farmer was shot and killed by unknown suspects that police are still searching for. “We hope the public will continue to give us information on the whereabouts of suspects so that they too can be put behind bars,” said Phala.