The incident has received huge reactions among citizens.

The Southern Cape farmer and his son were charged with murder after a man suspected of burgling their farm was shot dead.

Police conducted an autopsy on the man on Wednesday, the results of which are still pending.

Preliminary reports reveal that he was shot with a shotgun and a rifle an unknown number of times.

The case, considered “high profile”, has been handed over to the Hawks unit to investigate.

Police said the drama unfolded after the 58-year-old farmer took his workers to Aberdeen at about 5.30pm on Saturday.

When he returned to the farm, situated about 68km from Beaufort West on the Aberdeen Road at midnight the same day, he saw that a light was on inside the house.

The farmer, who lives alone, became suspicious as he had not left the lights on, according to police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie.

On entering his home, Pojie said, the farmer found the kitchen window had been broken and the house was in disarray.

The farmer then phoned his son, who rushed to his father’s aid.

“While they were in the kitchen, they allegedly saw the shadow of a suspicious person outside. They then switched off the light but noticed that the suspect was pointing a gun at them,” Pojie said.

He said that the pair then ran to arm themselves and allegedly shot at the man with a shotgun and a rifle.

He was hit in his neck, buttocks and stomach, and died on the scene.

Police could not say how many times he had been shot, and said they had been unable to identify the alleged intruder.

Police retrieved a pistol, a shotgun and a rifle from the scene, all of which have been sent for testing.

Both the farmer and his 29-year-old son have been charged with murder, but were released after consultation with the prosecuting authority, pending the outcome of the forensic and ballistic analyses, Pojie said.

The farmer, meanwhile, registered a case of housebreaking.

Carl Opperman, chief executive of Agri WesCape, said on Wednesday farmers were “sitting ducks” for criminals because of their isolated situation.

While provincial police were not allowed to reveal statistics on farm murders, Opperman said the Western Cape had a relatively low incident level compared to provinces further north where grain farms were larger and posed a bigger security risk.