Parliament debate on farm attacks and murders divides opinion

A parliamentary debate on the recent scourge of farm attacks and murders, on Tuesday 1 September, has revealed a difference in opinion between political parties. While the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for farm murders and attacks and subsequent social media hatred to come to an end, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have labelled the blue party as a group of racists.

In the most recent incident of farm murders, KwaZulu-Natal farmer Glen Rafferty and his wife Vida were allegedly shot dead when they arrived back home after visiting friends over the weekend. This, all the while tens of thousands of bikers rode all around the country in protest.

Police Minister Bheki Cele is, on Wednesday 2 September, expected to visit Newcastle in KZN where the elderly couple was killed. Cele will also meet with the organised community policing and farming structures. 


Da Shadow Minister of State Security Dianne Kohler Barnard said the party is reporting hate-filled social media posts to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

"On social media, I saw comments relating to their murders, 'good' said one, and 'Good, but I feel sorry for the dog' by another," said Kohler Barnard. 

"Well, the DA has been reporting to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) the vicious and hate-filled social media posts which congratulate the murderers every time they kill a farmer or farmworker. That is what the hate-filled narrative pumped out over the past two decades has engendered in the children of our country. Those who make such comments are now being taken to court," she added. 


Kohler Barnard said the DA has been speaking out against farm attacks for over two decades. 

"It was as we watched the attack numbers rising during this country-killing lockdown, that we drew a line in the sand. This was because the Police Minister Bheki Cele chose to forbid the patrolling systems the farm owners had set up over decades, in an attempt to keep their families safe," she said. 

She added that there have been 21 murders and 147 attacks in the past four months alone. She also said South African farmers are three times more likely to be murdered than a police officer.

The DA said it needs a joint-summit to work through the myriad rural security threats, clear short and medium-term solutions, and the political will and drive to ensure implementation. 

"We need a long term solution for an issue that looks set to drive our country to the brink of starvation," said Kohler Barnard. 


EFF Commissar Khosi Mkhonto said apartheid and the neo-apartheid social and economic structure we have today is based largely on the ability for myth-making by white people and the media houses they have behind them.

"They were able to first crystalize the myth about whites being a superior race, and therefore, entitled to dispossess black people from their land, murder them, and make them slaves in their own land," she said.

"Behind this myth, however, was an unrelenting agenda to justify their rapacious looting, their unquenchable thirst for the blood of African people, their obsessive preoccupation with dominating and oppressing black people," she added.

Mkhonto said the debate about farm murders and "the so-called white genocide" in this country is an extension of the "myth-making scam by right-wingers and those who are hell-bent on maintaining their colonially ill-gotten wealth by all means possible."

"The DA is part of this grouping of white racists who want to deflect our attention, and focus on narrow aspect of the problem of crime we have in this country, in order to serve their own right-wing aspirations."

Once Mkhonto labelled the DA as racists, the chief whip of the official opposition Natasha Mazzone raised a point of order. The speaker, however, did not reprimand Mkhonto, saying she labelled a party as racist, not an individual.

Mkhonto said the debate on farm attacks, and the white genocide in this country is done in a manner that seeks to project white people as victims, and black people as perpetrators of crime.


FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald is calling on Cele, to conduct an in-depth investigation into farm attacks, similar to the special investigation into farm attacks and murders that was conducted in 2013, to determine the underlying causes.

Groenewald said farm murders simply cannot be considered ordinary crimes. On 14 March 2017 during the first parliamentary debate on the matter, requested by the FF Plus, most of the political parties agreed that farm murders are a serious cause for concern and pose a significant threat to food security.

Stressing the importance of survivors, Groenewald said; "these are the ones who survived a farm attack and now have to carry on with their lives despite the trauma they suffered – many of them witnessed the murder of one or more of their family members."

"With the debate in 2017, the FF Plus emphasised the brutality of farm attacks, which is still at the order of the day. However, it is imperative to remember that the survivors are victims too and, therefore, they deserve our attention as well," he added.

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