'Farm attacks aren't a white and black matter' – Western Cape agricultural MEC

Farmers might have to start "taking a life to save a life" if the government does not step up to prevent farm attacks, according to community safety analyst Ian Cameron in a webinar on the topic on Thursday.

He said the commando system might not be the only way to go to protect farmers and suggested gun training for farmers and their neighbours to keep whole areas safe.

The discussion on the topic comes ahead of a "Black Monday" protest planned for October to highlight murders on farms.

Cameron said some police officers were doing their best to help but for "useless commanders", many who were "politically appointed".

"We need to take responsibility for our own safety, because the law creates ample space to defend ourselves and other communities. If we do not do that, this onslaught won't change.

"They might need to take a life to save a life."

He questioned why the police's top brass were scarce at farm murders.

Cameron said this did not diminish other murders, but felt the murder of farmers was not properly acknowledged, and have more far-reaching consequences.

The psychological toll of the brutality of the murders, and the effect on the agricultural economy were also cited.

He highlighted instances where a woman's eyes were gouged out during an attack, and in another case hot water from a geyser was poured over a victim.

Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said attacks on farms seemed to be viewed through a racial and political lens, without considering that black farmers were also killed.

"This is not a white and a black matter," added Meyer who said he was committed to keeping farmers safe.

The president of the World Farmers' Association, Dr Theo de Jager, believed neither Police Minister Bheki Cele nor President Cyril Ramaphosa were doing enough about farm murders.

He said the first victims in an attack were farm workers as attackers descended on farms expecting to find lots of money.

DA MP Diane Kohler Barnard expressed concern over inflammatory language directed at farmers on social media, or in protest songs.

She said she had complained about it to the SA Human Rights Commission but was ignored until it realised the complaint was from an MP.

The panelists also lamented what they regarded as poor media coverage of farm murders.

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