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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Prison for SA 'baboon murderer'
Zimbabwean hitchhikers
Many Zimbabwean migrants look for work on farms
A South African farmer has been jailed for 20 years for killing Zimbabwean farm worker Jealous Dube, who he said he had mistaken for a baboon.

The judge dismissed Jewell Crossberg's claim that he had fired shots to scare off baboons on his farm in Limpopo Province, which borders Zimbabwe.

The farmer was also found guilty of attempting to murder four other workers he had accused of laziness.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans cross illegally to South Africa each day seeking work.

Many head to nearby farms where, according to US-based Human Rights Watch, farmers routinely violate their basic labour rights.

Race tensions

"I really, really, really didn't mean to shoot anyone dead," the farmer cried in court earlier this week, according to South Africa's Beeld newspaper.

But Judge Ronnie Boshielo said on Thursday that Mr Crossberg had no respect for human life, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported.

He had not bothered to check what had happened to Mr Dube after the shooting incident, Judge Boshielo said.

Mr Crossberg was refused permission to appeal.

Correspondents say such cases highlight race tensions that still exist in the South African countryside 13 years after apartheid.

Two years ago, white farmer Mark Scott-Crossley was convicted of beating up a black employee and then throwing him into a lion enclosure where his remains were found.

South Africa's violent farms
03 Sep 03 |  Africa

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