Agri South Africa gets cold feet about protests against #plaasmoorde (farm murders)
The biggest farmers' union in South Africa, Agri SA, has given further protests on 25 November and 1 December against the atrocities known as farm murders or #plaasmoorde the cold shoulder. Its president, Dan Kriek, felt the protests were "not inclusive" enough and that "political undertones will not bring us closer to a solution".
Published: November 24, 2017, 8:17 pm
Although he did not openly criticise farmers who participated in the “Black Monday” protest on 30 October, Kriek said that his organisation was opposed to further demonstrations. Referring to a meeting of Agri SA’s safety committee that took place on 13 November, he stated: “Without exception, representatives decided during the meeting that it was not the right time now to get involved in further protest action, as Black Monday had already clearly conveyed the message to government that its citizens have had enough of crime. The sentiment among our members is that the inclusive character of Black Monday may now be politicised and that political undertones will not bring us closer to a solution.”
Not only did Agri SA seem to deny that farm murders had anything to do with politics, but also repeated the truism that the sadistic atrocities perpetrated by black attackers on mostly white victims were “ordinary crime”, which is precisely the position of South Africa’s ruling ANC. In this respect, Dan Kriek stated that “(crime) is a problem that touches all South Africans”.
In relation to food security in South Africa, the president of Agri SA emphasised the role of “emerging” (black) farmers by saying:
“Food security is the outcome of a joint attempt between commercial and emerging farmers and farm workers and therefore it is important to find inclusive solutions for the crime issue. Our focus is now on working in a results-driven way. It is now time for sober leadership and calm. Citizens, farmers and farmworkers must take hands to reveal crime at grassroots level in our own communities.”
With this statement Kriel seems to be saying that farmers also attack other farmers, as all communities, races and ethnic groups in South Africa are “equally guilty” of such crimes. He also appears to agree with radical black groups such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Black First Land First (BLF) that farmers are equally guilty of offences and appealed to government to “curtail” such violence:
“Agri SA condemns in the strongest terms all forms of farm violence and will continue to influence government to curtail it. We and the police are busy finding solutions for the effective implementation of strategy and policy to improve rural safety. We consider this process, as well as the solutions it may provide, as a priority.”
According to Kriek, farmers are “thinking creatively about their own safety and are making increasing use of technology to fight crime”.
While offering implicit criticism of Afrikaner groups continuing to protest, Kriek did not comment on the statements made by the EFF and BLF who were clearly stigmatising white farmers. Following upon the Black Monday protest, BLF said: “White farmers are racist, cruel land thieves who do not deserve our sympathy.”
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