Janice Atkinson, an independent Member of the European Parliament for the South East England region, formerly representing the UK Independence Party (UKIP), demanded a parliamentary vote condemning farm murders in South Africa.
Her motion against farm murders was rejected by a majority. She said in South Africa the “situation remains extremely serious”. She described how she had joined the protest against farm murders on #BlackMonday.
“Being a farmer in South Africa is one of the most dangerous professions in the world,” Atkinson pointed out. She added that there were “huge concerns about the functioning of the police” which “strangely enough does not seem to be an issue for the international community”.
She proposed a debate on the matter and demanded a statement from the EU Commission as well as the European Council. Atkinson proposed to have farm murders as the first item on the agenda.
The former Conservative party member, who was expelled from UKIP, joined the newly formed group in the European Parliament, Europe of Nations and Freedom in 2015. She put forward the motion at the sitting on Monday this week.
Europe of Nations and Freedom, is a political group in the European Parliament with 37 members, the smallest in the European Parliament. The largest party of the group by number of MEPs is the National Front representing almost half of ENL’s MEPs with 17 MEPs out of 40.
The ENF is the parliamentary group of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom although the Dutch PVV’s MEPs are members of the European Alliance for Freedom and other MEPs are without any European affiliations.
Marine Le Pen announced that a new group in the European Parliament would be launched with representation from seven different member states.
During the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party convention on 30 April 2016, it was announced that Marcus Pretzell, an MEP would join the ENL group.
Atkinson, who is also an associate of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), chided parliamentarians for not taking a stand against the gross human rights abuses currently taking place in South Africa.
Meanwhile South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said he was unaware of any demands for farm murder statistics to be made available, despite several requests being made.
“We must never give an impression that there are certain things we are running away from,” Mbalula said disingenuously. “If something has been agreed to, we must honour it.”
But briefing the media afterwards, Mbalula said such crime figures and debates about farm murders would amount to defending “useless things”.
“I don’t want to engage in useless fights,” he said, after the Freedom Front Plus Party castigated the police for failing to provide specific numbers of farm killings and attacks, as they had promised to do.
The Transvaal Agricultural Union SA (TAU SA) said the crime statistics compared badly with the situation over the same period last year.
Henry Geldenhuys, TAU SA deputy president, warned that the situation was spiralling out of control. “The situation on South African farms and small holdings is critical and it is clear that the SAPS’ rural safety strategy is not producing favourable results,” Geldenhuys said.
The TAU says that white farmers are disproportionately targeted in such attacks. The violence meted out is also often disproportionately brutal, with the victims sadistically tortured.
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