The civil rights organisation AfriForum has issued a report today in which the relationship among politics, hate speech and an increase in farm murders is set out. The report deals with five prominent cases where hatred and violence was fuelled by political leaders against white farmers. It was found that farm murders increased by an average of 74,8% in the months following directly on these incidents of hate speech.
Ernst Roets, deputy CEO of AfriForum, compiled the report, Kill the farmer: a brief study on the impact of politics and hate speech on the safety of South African farmers, and presented it during a press conference held at Forum Films. Roets said the allegation that farm murders in 90% of cases were motivated by robbery only is misleading.
“In our study, the number of murders in each month that followed directly upon an incident of hate speech was compared with the average number of murders per month in that specific year. There has always been a sharp rise in murders during the months that followed directly on hate speech.”
Pertinent incidents of hate speech dealt with in the report include the following:
- Peter Mokaba’s singing of the song ‘Kill the Boer, kill the farmer’ in April 1993
- Julius Malema’s singing of the song ‘Shoot the Boer’ in March 2010
- President Jacob Zuma’s singing of the song ‘Shoot the Boer’ in January 2012
- Ronald Lamola’s war talks in June 2012
- Julius Malema’s talking about the killing of white people in November 2016
It is also worth noting that there are two narratives in the debate on farm murders. The one is calling for the prioritisation of farm murders. The other argues that farmers are racists who deserve their due. The big difference between these two groups, said Roets, is that those asking for the prioritisation of farm murders base their arguments on statistics and research, while those arguing that farmers are racists, base their arguments on a few individual examples.
“We can clearly see that there is an upward curve in murders when violence is instigated against farmers. Political leaders who are guilty must be held accountable and responsible for their actions.”