South African police have opened a probe into the murder of Louisenhof Wine farm owner Stefan Smit in the town of Stellenbosch.
The 62-year-old was killed on Sunday when “four gunmen entered the house through an unlocked door and shot him", South Africa Police Service (SAPS) spokesman Andre Traut was cited by Independent Online as saying.
“His wife and a family friend who were present at the time of the incident both survived the attack. The suspects fled with personal belongings and are yet to be arrested”, Traut added.
Piet Carinus, chairperson of the Stellenbosch agriculture union, in turn, told News 24 that the killing of Smit “again emphasises the fact that the authorities won't be able to keep us safe” and that “[white] farmers are responsible for their own safety”.
Carinus was echoed by Bennie van Zyl, general manager of the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa, who blamed “lawlessness” in his country for Smit’s murder.
Anton Smuts, chairperson of local wine production regulating company VinPro, for his part urged South African President Cyril Ramaphosa “to take a strong stance against this country-wide attack on the agricultural sector and take action to improve safety".
The tragedy comes just a week after a young white couple was shot and killed in broad daylight by unknown assailants in South Africa after their car ran out of fuel.
The double murder of 19-year-old Johanco Fleischman and his girlfriend Jessica Kuhn, 23, occurred near the town of Benoni in Gauteng Province, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) east of Johannesburg.
The murder followed South Africa police detaining a 40-year-old man on suspicion of brutally murdering 51-year-old farm attack activist Annette Kennealy.
Earlier in the year, a survey released by the group Afriforum revealed that attacks on white farmers in South Africa increased by 25 percent in 2018, with assailants using electric drills, blowtorches, and bleach against some victims.
In December 2018, media reports said South African farmers could be forced to give up their own land in line with the constitutional go-ahead for land grabs without compensation.
Earlier, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the country's ruling African National Congress would “finalise a proposed amendment” to the Constitution in what he described as a step that could be “critically important” to the country's economy.