Members of parliament have the responsibility to act in the interests of farmers and food security and farmers can no longer be left to their own devices.
Dr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, presented a motion in parliament on Thursday for the establishment of a parliamentary ad hoc committee to conduct a proper investigation into farm attacks and murders. “Farmers keep the economy going and ensure that every South African has food on the table.”
According to Groenewald, there are many reasons for placing the occurrence of farm attacks on the parliamentary agenda. “Some of these are the cardinal role of the agricultural sector to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and job creation. The most important, however, are the people who are killed and injured in the attacks.”
South Africa’s farmers are under siege, Groenewald said. “When farmers leave their farm and return, they must always be prepared for an ambush. In addition, the government is failing them in many ways. In addition to rising production costs, fuel prices and salaries, farmers live with the constant threat of attacks and must protect themselves against this at great cost.
“The brutality associated with attacks on farmers and their employees also clearly shows that most attacks are not ordinary crimes. Ordinary criminals will not torture their victims. They will take what they want and flee.”
‘Government not doing nearly enough’
The ACDP pointed out that violent crime in the country has reached unacceptable levels.
“The ACDP is extremely concerned about the number of attacks on farms and smallholdings, which are often very brutal in nature. We strongly condemn these farm attacks and murders,” said Steve Swart, ACDP chief whip.
The singing of “Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer” worsens an already dire situation, Swart believes.
“The ACDP believes that much more can and must be done to protect farmers and their workers. How much longer will we as citizens tolerate these unspeakable acts of violence against our citizens? We support the establishment of an ad hoc committee as proposed in the motion.”
‘Farm killings affect whole society’
The DA also welcomed the establishment of an ad hoc committee.
Noko Masipa, DA MP and the party’s spokesperson on agriculture, land reform and rural development, also expressed his deep concern about the recent and repeated chanting of “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer” by members of the EFF.
“This irresponsible behavior has left the farming community, across the country’s diverse spectrum, alarmed, especially when seen within the context of the recent upsurge in farm attacks. It is a pity that pres. Cyril Ramaphosa remains silent, despite requests from many South Africans and even the international community to condemn this despicable behaviour.”
Masipa believes the phrase “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer” is not only inappropriate, but also harmful to South Africa’s national building project. “It is a divisive chant, one that incites hatred, fuels racial divisions and threatens the foundations of our democracy.”
According to Masipa, the DA has already approached Ramaphosa and encouraged him to establish a commission of inquiry into farm murders and related crimes.
“The DA advocates a commission of inquiry because we believe that it is important to understand the root cause of criminal activities in our farming areas in order to develop a comprehensive response strategy. Despite the urgency of the issue, we did not get a concrete response from the president, apart from acknowledging the receipt of our letter.
“Chairman, we must recognize that farm killings not only emotionally violate the direct victims – they affect our entire society. It sabotages our economy, deters tourism and reduces government revenue.”