Letters not enough to resolve farm murder crisis  

The civil rights organisation AfriForum responded to Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s circular, in which he reacts to the murder of Brendin Horner and the recent chain of events in Senekal, by saying that letters about farm murders are not sufficient to resolve this crisis.

AfriForum welcomes the fact that Ramaphosa addressed the incident and regards it as a step in the right direction, but it however does not discard the damage Ramaphosa himself caused when he denied the occurrence of farm murders in South Africa on an international platform. It also doesn’t discard the damage which Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police, caused earlier in his derogatory remarks towards farmers.

“Farm murders is a comprehensive problem that requires an extensive solution and this solution must also be practical in practice,” says Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum.

“It is good and well that the Presidents says that there must be better cooperation between the police and the civilian society, but the reality however is that the forums that need to make provision for it do not function. The fact that Bheki Cele announced that one of the suspects has been arrested 16 times before is as far as AfriForum is concerned indicative that the criminal law system is dysfunctional and furthermore confirms that a more holistic and comprehensive reaction is necessary,” adds Roets.

Part of the farm murder crisis is that senior politicians, also in the governing party, readily romanticise violence against farmers in their utterances. Victims are regularly blamed for these crimes and it is alleged that farmers need to change their behaviour and attitude if they want farm murders to stop.

“All of this indicates that a large part of the crisis lies with the mindset and careless attitude of the government and to publicise letters about this will make no difference if it is not followed up with actual action within the government to change government’s mindset. There must also be actual action on ground level to safeguard people.”

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