The organisation for family farmers Saai condemns the senseless, cruel murder outside Paul Roux on the 21-year old Free State farm manager Bredin Horner. It did not only have repercussions throughout South Africa but even in Europe and North America. In so far as the English media reports more about the nature and extent of farm murders, more serious questions are being asked about the humanitarian crisis and the government’s handling thereof.
Saai participates almost weekly in international digital conferences regarding farm murders and expropriation without compensation and flagged this as one of the most pressing questions in agriculture in the southern hemisphere last year in Rome with the launching of the UN’s Decade of Family Famers. Saai participates almost weekly in international digital conferences regarding farm murders and expropriation without compensation and flagged this as one of the most pressing questions in agriculture in the southern hemisphere last year in Rome with the launching of the UN’s Decade of Family Famers. Saai will work closely with AfriForum to let the voice of family farmers of all races be heard on international platforms where the government and the state neglected them.
Since President Cyril Ramaphosa denied in September 2018 at the UN’s General Meeting in New York that farm murders in South Africa are a problem, exposure of the gruesome incidents surprisingly increased in foreign media. Saai plans a second international tour to talk to governments in the northern hemisphere about strategies to force the ANC to recognise the problem and do something about it.
The ANC created the climate wherein runaway statistics for farm attacks (average every second day since 2000) and farm murders (average every fifth day since 2000) caused a massive economic and welfare crisis in the rural areas. It was the ANC that started with “Kill the farmer, kill the boer”; they have never rejected or renounced it and are now in no position to rebuke the EFF about it. It is also the ANC that refuses to see the problem and in the parliamentary debate about farm murders shouted the most insensitive, inflammatory and shocking interjections about it. This is what needs to be exposed to the international community .
Bheki Cele, Minister of Police’s tirade in Normandien, KZN, where he further tried to polarise the community on a racial basis after the equally gruesome murder on the Rafferty couple on their family farm, shows that he is part of the problem and therefore can by no means be the hope for a solution. As criminality, corruption and political hijacking in the police are exposed by the Zondo Commission and the murder investigations like the one on late Lt Col Charl Kinnear, there is an increasing understanding of the vulnerability and self-reliance of South Africa’s farming community
Instead of launching a dynamic rural safety plan in partnership with rural communities and organised agriculture, the police forces farmers to hand in their weapons for an unlimited time in the administrative process of relicensing and that leaves them vulnerable at a time where they can least afford it.
The excuses that farmers themselves are responsible for farm murders because they ill-treat their workers, have never been supported by incidents, facts and research and is typical of the ANC’s complicity in creating a climate where farm murders flourish. In addition, the finger-pointing to Zimbabweans and farm workers from neighbouring countries is a cheap way of evading responsibility and is not based on facts or verifiable research.
To solve the farm murder crisis, the ANC must first recognise and prioritise the problem. They must at the same time bring about a special multi-departmental task team of security officers that are above reproach in partnership with civil structures and private security companies to implement a rural safety plan and perform independent research to scientifically investigate the incentives, tendencies and unhealthy policy climate.
There are too many political parties and groups like the EFF, BLF and factions in the ANC that ask for farm attacks and incite it. The torture and brutality of the murders like the murder on young Brendin Horner is unmatched and typical of hate speech. That the safety services have never lifted a finger against the tens of thousands of people that approve of farm murders on social media, speaks volumes. This makes farm murders not merely an extension of a general climate of lawlessness.
South Africa’s agricultural community has never been as frustrated and disappointed with the state as they are now. For the sake of rural stability the ANC must take their points of view and their approach to farm murders into urgent reconsideration.
Feelings among farmers run high. Saai and large numbers of people will express their sympathy with the Horner family on Tuesday in front of the Magistrate’s Court in Senekal.