Brutal farm murders ‘not the same’ as other violent crime

Staff Writer | Jul 04, 2019
The South African Agricultural Initiative (Saai) warns that until the government acknowledges the problem, no solution will be possible.

Three factors distinguish brutal farm attacks from run-away crime elsewhere in the country, and underscore the need for special measures to counter such violence.

So says Saai chairman Dr Theo de Jager.

Writing on Politicsweb, De Jager said many ‘political commentators, journalists and even agricultural unions are downplaying this phenomenon as the same tragedy that is taking place in townships and cities on a daily basis’, with people who complained about farm murders ‘being vilified for “claiming special attention for the agricultural community”’.

But he argued that ‘farm attacks and especially farm murders are not the same as the other run-away statistics that once again are gradually returning South Africa to the level of a pariah state’.

All crime was ‘equally tragic, equally damaging to families and communities, and equally requiring urgent attention’. But three aspects in particular ‘distinguish farm murders from the rest, thereby rendering foreign intervention and special preventive measures essential’.

De Jager said: ‘Firstly, nobody is publicly asking for township or gang murders to be committed. There is no popular incitement to urban murders. This crime is not the theme of political speeches, neither do the masses chant “Kill a city dweller, kill a township family”. There is no deliberate creating (of) a political climate that encourages it, as there is in the case of farm murders.

‘Secondly, robberies and urban murders are not committed with the same level of brutal torture. Children are not forced to watch while their mother is being raped; her eyes … gouged out, and Grandma … mutilated by a steel drill through her knees.’

He said AfriForum had published ‘absolutely shocking figures’ showing that ‘in almost half of the incidents of this inhuman violence nothing was even stolen. This is murder for the joy of it’.

‘Thirdly, following township murders there is no thunderous applause, especially on social media. Hundreds of radical Twitter accounts, with or without pseudonyms, welcome every report of yet another gruesome torture or murder scene and call for more of it, without any consequences. Law enforcers apparently lack the intention, ability or will to do anything about it.’

De Jager said the first requirement in confronting rural violence was for the ANC government ‘to admit the problem’, without which ‘no solution will be possible’.

This would probably require ‘social, political and particularly foreign pressure’.

The ANC must also ‘get its own act together and publicly turn its back on slogans … such as “Kill the farmer, kill the boer”. The ANC should go even further and, like Mandela, say this chanting will no longer be tolerated. It is fundamentally wrong, in spite of the South African Human Rights Commission’s controversial finding in this regard.’

The government should also establish a ‘specialist unit’ capable of intelligence-based pre-emptive action.

‘It is unforgiveable that after 15 years no progress has been made with regard to the commitment by the police following the dissolution of the commandos, namely to establish a reservist force. In light of President Ramaphosa’s denial of farm attacks at the UN in New York last year, and the ANC government’s blatant failure to take tangible steps in this regard, he surely cannot be shocked if increasing numbers of South Africans and the international community are smelling a rat?’

De Jager noted that he often wished ‘political commentators and the security ministers, or the President himself, would only once visit such a farm murder scene. They should smell it and see it: the bestial brutality of the torture, and the blood on the ceiling and the walls. Only then they will be qualified to talk about the similarities and differences between farm murders and other crime.’


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