AfriForum reacted sharply today to the statement by Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, that farm murders should not be priority crimes. The civil rights organisation describes the Minister’s statement as irrational and discriminatory.
This follows Cele’s statement yesterday that farm murders cannot be declared priority crimes because these simply refer to cases of homicide, rape, assault and robbery with the aggravating circumstances that occur on farms.
AfriForum in the meantime launched an online campaign for the prioritisation of farm murders. Every time someone clicks on the petition’s “Send” button an email is sent directly to Cele’s Office.
Ernst Roets, Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, says that the Minister’s explicit statement – that farm murders are not a priority – confirms what has for many years been the reality in South Africa. “The claim that this crime phenomenon cannot be prioritised simply because it is a manifestation of other crimes is irrational because all priority crimes are manifestations of other crimes. Rhino poaching is a manifestation of poaching; transit robberies are manifestations of vehicle hijacking and other crimes; copper cable theft is a manifestation of theft; gang violence is a manifestation of murder, assault and other crimes; violence against women is a manifestation of a number of crimes. The list goes on.
“Cele’s statement is nothing but discrimination against farmers, because it seemingly does not fit the ruling party’s political project to concern itself with the safety of food producers,” Roets adds. “Fact is: Farm murders are unique phenomena that pose unique consequences for society as a whole. This in itself is reason enough to prioritise it.”
We encourage the public to support the petition at www.stopthemurders.co.za.