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Cyril Ramaphosa in 2017 condemning farm murders at the National Council of Provinces. SA Gov.

South African president blatantly lies about farm murders

President Cyril Ramaphosa's lies during an interview on Bloomberg television has led to an angry response in South Africa. Ramaphosa's spokesperson quickly had to step in "to explain what the president said" but did little to explain away his lies.

Published: September 29, 2018, 11:57 am

    In the interview on the sidelines of the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Ramaphosa claimed that “there are no killings of farmers or white farmers in South Africa”, and even added that “there’s no land grab in SA”.

    Ramaphosa delivered the David Rockefeller memorial lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on 24 September 2018, where he first made these untruthful claims.

    Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa was responding to Donald Trump’s tweet in which the US president pointed out that there were “large scale killings of farmers” and that government was seizing farm land.

    “It is very unfortunate that anyone would want to deliberately distort the President’s remarks which were in direct response to ‘large scale killing of farmers’‚ a characterisation everyone knows holds no truth in South Africa.”

    But the civil rights organization AfriForum announced on Thursday in response that it would send victims whose loved ones were murdered during farm attacks to the United States in a follow-up to launch an awareness campaign against farm killings and expropriation without compensation.

    The organisation also intends launching the book Kill the Boer authored by Ernst Roets in Washington DC soon, in which Roets reveals the extent of the ongoing scourge.

    Ramaphosa blatantly lied when he said “there are no killings of farmers” in a US TV interview on Bloomberg, Roets noted.

    “AfriForum wants to give farm attack victims and their loved ones the opportunity to tell their stories to opinion makers, politicians, government representatives and the media in Washington,” he said.

    Roets called Ramaphosa’s statement as an infamous lie and says it was a slap in the face of the more than 10 000 people who have already been attacked on South African farms, as well as the families of the approximately 2 000 victims killed in these farm attacks.

    “There is no way to turn around or soften what the president said. It’s blatantly fake,” said Roets. He said it was just as deceptive to argue that there are no landgrabs in South Africa.

    AfriForum has just obtained a court order on behalf a Gauteng farmer, to remove illegal landgrabbers from his farm after the South African Police Service (SAPS) refused to open a case against the landgrabbers.

    Over the past two decades, according to the SAPS’s own official figures, there were on average two farm attacks per day and two farm murders each week. “Just since January this year there were 320 farm attacks and 43 farm murders on South African farms,” says Roets.

    Roets has argued that the government was “complicit” in farm attacks and that there is “a looming process of ethnic cleansing”.

    The South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) also denounced the president’s lies. “Both of Mr Ramaphosa’s statements are untrue. Data produced by the South African Police Service shows that 62 farmers and farm workers were murdered in the country in the 2017-2018 financial year,” the IRR said after Ramaphosa’s remarks.

    “IRR analysts have also demonstrated that a simple media scan will offer up examples of violent land and farm invasions across a number of SA’s provinces, including the Free State, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”

    IRR CEO Dr Frans Cronje said: “Mr Ramaphosa’s comments are offensive to the victims of farm murders — black and white — and to the millions of South Africans who live with insecure [land]titles to the properties they occupy.” In a statement the IRR says researcher James Myburgh has determined the murder rate among farmers to be 108 per 100 000 farmers, as opposed to 34 murders per 100 000 people in 2016/’17.

    Gareth van Onselen, an analyst at the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR), tweeted in reaction that Ramaphosa’s message was “palpably false at face value”.

    Van Onselen, in a thread on Twitter, said Ramaphosa’s statement that Trump’s tweet was “completely wrong” is plainly false, adding that there was a “profound problem”.

    Ramaphosa has actually contradicted himself, because in November 2017 he categorically stated that “the brutal killing of farmers must stop….”

    Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces, he said: “We condemn the farm killings that continue to take place in our country, because we can never justify any form of taking of life. The farm killings must be brought to an end.”

    The latest statistics show there are about 20 000 murders a year in South Africa – out of a total population of 55 million, a murder rate of 36 per 100 000. There has been 62 farm murders in the past year. With only about 35 000 white farmers left, the murder rate is 177 per 100 000 – about 5 times the national average.

    Protest against farm murders in Adelaide, Australia. FWM

    Even though there are varying statistics cited for the average number of killings, they remain extremely high. The Freedom Front Plus’ Pieter Groenewald told MPs last year in parliament that the farm murder rate is 133 per 100 000, while the African Christian Democratic Party’s Steve Swart cited a lower figure.

    “Whilst we have an unacceptably high murder rate in this nation of 34 people per 100 000, for farmers, the figure is 97 per 100 000. Almost 3 times the average,” Swart said.

    Even AgriSA, an organisation with close ties to the ANC, has also criticised Ramaphosa, saying that it is “displeased” with Ramaphosa’s remarks.”Farm attacks and murders on all farmers, farmworkers and their families is a huge problem that needs to be recognised,” said Dan Kriek, AgriSA president.

    In October last year, thousands of white farmers held large demonstrations in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, to protest against what they described as an explosion of violence against their communities.

    Levels of crime in South Africa generally have reached inordinately high levels since 1994 when the ANC came to power. In 2017/’18 murder rates increased by 6,9 percent on the previous year, with 57 murders daily at a rate of almost 36 murders per 100 000 people, the government’s own figures show.

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    • lilyred

      He lied. What they do.

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