Farmer is given 25 years for racist murder

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The Independent Online

In a case highlighting the continuing racial brutality in South Africa, a 41-year-old white farmer has been sentenced to 25 years' jail for murdering a black employee by dragging him behind his pick-up truck.

In a case highlighting the continuing racial brutality in South Africa, a 41-year-old white farmer has been sentenced to 25 years' jail for murdering a black employee by dragging him behind his pick-up truck.

The conviction in the High Court on Tuesday of Eicker Henning for the murder in January 1997 of Kepisi Mgaga came a week after South African television showed gruesome amateur-video footage of six white police-dog handlers setting their animals on three black immigrants.

The High Court in Ladysmith, Kwazulu Natal, was told Mr Mgaga died after admitting stealing farming equipment belonging to Henning.

In an attack that lasted several hours, the farmworker was allegedly whipped, stabbed with a sword, kicked, beaten and shocked with a cattle prodder, before Henning and an accomplice tied rope around his neck and dragged him 500 metres along a gravel road near his farm in Dundee, Kwazulu Natal.

Henning and his accomplice, Hendrik Potgieter, then allegedly dumped their dead victim by the roadside.

Potgieter received a suspended four-year sentence.

South African newspapers reporting the court case yesterday pointed out that the prosecution team was all white. They quoted the state prosecutor Fred Bunting as saying Henning did not deserve a life sentence, even though he had shown no remorse.

In August this year, Pieter Odendaal, a builder from Sasolburg, near Johannesburg, was arrested and charged with murder after allegedly dragging an employee, John Rampuru, to his death, by tying him to a pick-up truck and driving five kilometres. The case is still in preliminary hearings.

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