The Griekwastad AWB farm murder hoax

It was the most bizarre story of 2013: a right-wing female farmer awaiting trial for treason claimed from inside prison that she had been part of a hit squad that killed the Steenkamp family in Griekwastad the year before in an attempt to heighten fears among farmers about farm killings and to incite racial hatred.

The only problem? The story had no legs whatsoever and soon afterwards De Wet was discredited as an unstable attention-seeker whose knowledge of the grizzly Steenkamp murder was far too sketchy to be credible.

The book seems to have now closed emphatically on De Wet’s wild claims when last month the 17-year-old boy charged with the murder of Deon Steenkamp, his wife, Christelle, and their 14-year-old daughter, Marthella, was found guilty by the court. He was also found guilty of raping Marthella.

The fact that the DFA was suckered by De Wet, who was arrested in May 2012 on charges of terrorism and treason, says less about this newspaper than it does about the state of SA’s media and the way social media has both enlivened and disrupted the media and the national debate.