Stefan Smit Stellenbosch Kayamandi land grab

Louisenhof Estate, Stellenbosch – Photo: Cape Farm Mappers

Activist linked to infamous Stellenbosch “land grab murder” shot dead

A vocal Kayamandi activist – whose protests were linked to the devastating murder of Stellenbosch farmer Stefan Smit – was killed on Thursday morning.

Stefan Smit Stellenbosch Kayamandi land grab

Louisenhof Estate, Stellenbosch – Photo: Cape Farm Mappers

A community activist who lead several acts of land grabbing in Stellenbosch was executed in his home on Thursday morning. Madisi “Midas” Wanana has been confirmed dead by the Western Cape SAPS, just hours before he was due to take part in a service delivery march into Stellies town centre.

Kayamandi land grab dispute and the death of Stefan Smit

Wanana was a resident of Kayamandi. The small, cramped township on the outskirts of Stellenbosch has an incredibly dense population for its 2km boundaries, and their quest for more space caused one of the most infamous land grab disputes in recent South African history.

The Kayamandi settlement backs onto the Louisenhof Wine Estate, owned by Stefan Smit. The landowner did an interview with the New York Times back in March, fearing for his life after heated confrontations with the squatters, who ended up occupying part of his grounds.

Despite successful court challenges, structures remained on the Estate. Three months after the interview, Smit was found dead in his own home, after what appeared to be a home invasion. The farmer previously obtained a court interdict against the construction. Sadly, the letter of the law couldn’t prevent Smit from meeting a brutal fate.

Police confirmed that four armed men gained access to the wine estate via an unlocked door, before opening fire on the 62-year-old. His wife and a family friend survived the attack.

“Midas” Wanana mourned by Stellenbosch community

It’s important to note that Wanana condemned the killing at the time, and suggested that there were motives that went beyond the land grab issue in the Smit murder case. However, the man who played such an integral part in fighting for their right to occupy that land has now met a similar end.

Derrick Hendrickse is a fellow community activist who served alongside Midas for five years, as part of the Stellenbosch Civic Association from 2011 – 2016. He paid tribute to “the fighter”, who he labelled as a “true leader” in the troubled township of Kayamandi:

“It is with great sadness I heard of the shooting and passing of Midas Wanana this morning. May his soul rest in peace. My heart goes out to his family… What a fighter – Kayamandi has lost a true leader that served his community.”

Derrick Hendrickse

Police have yet to make any arrests in the case, lamenting the fact that the criminals were quick to leave the scene when the incident took place at about 5:30. Wanana was taken to hospital, but ultimately succumbed to his injuries. An investigation is already underway in the Western Cape.