DURBAN – Farm murders have again been thrust into the spotlight following a gruesome discovery on a farm at Hibberdene, on the South Coast.
On Friday night a group of intruders murdered Mark Blaine before ransacking his home, taking his cellphone and other belongings.
His body was discovered by his landlord early on Saturday morning. He died just hours before his 71st birthday.
According to a resident, the landlord was passing Blaine’s home when he noticed that the gate was ajar.
When he went to investigate, he found Blaine lying face down on the kitchen floor. His hands had been tied with an electrical extension cord.
He said Blaine’s cellphone, pellet gun, computer screen and keyboard were missing.
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed that a case of murder and house robbery had been opened with the Hibberdene police.
He said no arrests had been made as yet.
A neighbour described Blaine as a quiet and soft-spoken person.
“Mark kept to himself and loved his animals.
“He was a frugal person and I loved that about him. He worked at the Sezela Mill and when he retired he moved back because this is where he grew up,” the neighbour said.
Blaine’s son, Paul, described him as a “loving father and grandfather”.
“My father never caused any trouble,” he said.
Police statistics on farm murders and attacks released last year showed that during 2017/18 there were 561 incidents reported, with KZN recording 61 murders.
KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said it was important to contextualise the attacks.
“Rural areas are under-resourced in terms of policing. Farm murders are not new and have been happening from before 1994,” she said.