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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 12:35 GMT
SA farmer 'fed worker to lions'
White lion
The human remains were found at a white lion breeding project
A South African farmer and three others have been charged with murder, accused of feeding an ex-worker to lions.

The four were arrested on Monday after police found a human skull and pieces of a leg in a lion enclosure.

Witnesses told police that Nelson Shisane, 38, was assaulted, tied up and driven to a lion breeding project, where he was thrown over the fence.

Mr Shisane, who had been sacked last year, had apparently returned to the farm, to collect his belongings.

He was reported missing by his family on 8 February.

Mark Crossley, 35, and three of his black employees were refused bail at the Phalaborwa magistrates court, some 350km north-east of Johannesburg.


The BBC's Dominic Hughes in Johannesburg says white farmers in the region have been accused of mistreating their workers, while they are themselves sometimes the victims of extremely violent attacks.

The best tribute we can pay to the memory of Nelson Shisane is to make sure that never again do such atrocities take place on our farms
Last year, a report by South Africa's Human Rights Commission condemned the culture of violence on the country's farms.

The human remains were found at Mokwalo White Lion Project, 15km from Mr Crossley's farm, near the town of Hoedspruit.

"The farmer and three workers allegedly watched as a lion mauled him, before it dragged him into the bush," said police Superintendent Ronel Otto.

"We are taking this issue very seriously, and have put a 10-man task team of our most senior detectives on the investigation," Superintendent Otto said.

"Shisane's remains have been sent to Pretoria for forensic testing," she said.


The alleged killing has been condemned by both South Africa's labour minister and the trade unions congress.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana was "shocked and angry" at the reports, a departmental spokesman said.

"Why should employers feed troublesome farmworkers to the lions?" said spokesman Snuki Zikalala.

Labour inspectors have been sent to the farm to investigate, he said.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) called for a "massive campaign" to improve safety on farms.

"The best tribute we can pay to the memory of Nelson Shisane is to make sure that never again do such atrocities take place on our farms," a Cosatu statement said.

South Africa's violent farms
03 Sep 03  |  Africa
Country profile: South Africa
08 Nov 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: South Africa
19 Nov 03  |  Country profiles

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