Stefan Smit, 62, owner of the wine farm Louisenhof on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, was shot and killed in his house on Sunday night.
Louisenhof was the subject of a land occupation in August 2018, when hundreds of residents of nearby Kayamandi and surrounds started erecting informal housing and shacks on the property.
Smit interdicted further occupation of his property and authorities evicted the illegal occupiers shortly thereafter. The occupation occurred during the heightened national debate over the expropriation of land without compensation.
Piet Carinus, chairperson of the Stellenbosch agriculture union, confirmed the murder and said the community was shocked by Smit's death. Information is still sketchy, but it is believed that four men entered Smit's home wearing balaclavas and shot him. It doesn't appear as if robbery was the prime motive.
"There is shock and disbelief among farmers in the district. I don't know what to say. We're shocked. The impact on the community will be huge. It again emphasises the fact that farmers are responsible for their own safety, the authorities won't be able to keep us safe," Carinus said.
He added that, since his farm had been occupied, Smit has increased security and had extra guards on the property. He had also received threats.