Farmers took to the streets of several farming towns, such as Wolmaranstad, Potchefstroom, Litchenburg and Kroonstad in the Free State. They also visited several police stations to hand over memorandums. At the top of their grievances is the safety of rural communities.
Hundreds of grain farmers in Free State and the North West are calling for harsher laws to deal with farm murders and attacks.
Farmers, who were joined by their counterparts from neighbouring countries, notably Namibia, travelled in motorcycles across the North West province, visiting police stations, and calling for a better approach to avert more attacks.
The organiser of the event, TJ Mare, says farmers called on the police to change their approach in dealing with these crimes.
“The purpose is to have a moment with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and tell them that they must take hands with the public. A really big change is required and different public structures to get the community safety under control, that why we decided to group bikers throughout South Africa to bring about change.”
Hartlike goeie more; ons laaste dag het aangebreek. Ek glo almal het heerlik gerus.KOM ONS GAAN GROOT EN DAN HUIS TOE….
Jarrod Powell, a farmer from Durban, also came to support the call. He says he was attacked alongside his wife and although they survived the ordeal, they now live in fear.
“We need to focus on the fight against farm-murders, it threatens the food supply. I was attacked in 2011, myself and my wife. Fortunately, my kids were not there. Really it’s a very difficult thing, it is a traumatic thing, and really it always sticks in your mind. It’s really difficult.”
Namibia farmers, Rassie Erasmus and Rickie Proffert, say they have also experienced the same problem of violence in their country, albeit on a smaller scale.
“We are very much worried because we experience that in Namibia, but not at this big scale. There is no more law, there are no penalties. They commit a crime and go to a jail for a night. We wanted to be part of the mass ride and showing that we do not agree with the current rural murders like this, this just shows how the country is going backwards.”
As said it is but farm murders are no special to murder we see everyday in this country so I say harsher law for murder in general :#AMLive
— Sandile Wela (@SandileWela) December 4, 2017
Police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwaabone says they are aware of the attacks and have noted the farmers concerns.
“We can confirm that murder is one of the crimes that are still prevalent in the province. At this stage, we cannot quantify murders in which farmers were killed, but we are receiving the case as part of preventing such incident. We are working together with farmers through rural safety strategy for better policing.”
Police say they have established task teams to deal with these crimes in rural communities.
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