Protesting farmers call on Police Minister to take stand against farm attacks

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Farmers who protested outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria against the killings and farm attacks say “If Police Minister, Bheki Cele, is not with the farmers, he is against them”.

Hundreds of them gathered this weekend to protest against farm attacks and want police to do more to prevent the attacks. Traffic on the N1 south was brought to a stand still when the protesters used hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles to drive to Centurion and back to the Union Buildings.

They drove through the city slowly during the protest which Kallie Roux from the organisation Unite Against Farm Murders and Attacks had organised.

It was not the first time traffic was brought to a standstill on the major high ways of Pretoria. The protesters were in vehicles and were carrying white crosses and banners saying “Stop Farm Murders” and “enough is enough”.

Kallie Roux from of the organisation Unite Against Farm Murders and Attacks, says President Cyril Ramaphosa must condemn farm murders.

“There is also a message for the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, Please Minister, you need to be part of the solution not the problem. Stand up against these farm attackers. Don’t harass or speak and condemn our farmers and mention them as the problem. Please be part of the solution. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem,”

Roux says they are urging people who are worried about farm attacks to join security structures in rural areas.

“This is one piece of the puzzle, it’s the awareness campaigns that we launch, as you can see today. And the other one is also asking people to get involved with the community, with the farmer community, with their neighbours, because we believe security start with yourself, that is important. Because if you look at the South African police force I don’t think they have enough resources to assist.”

Congress of South African Trade Union’s Tshwane regional chairperson, Johannes Mokoena, took part in the protest and said they were in also against farm murders.

“It is long overdue that the farmers stand up and fight against this thing. We cannot sit and watch while farmers are under attack. So therefore as COSATU being on the ground we see what is happening there. We are trying by all means to have government to put in place a proper plan and resources at farms. If farmers are under that attack then our food security will be at threat.”

Barend Pienaar of the White Cross Monument in Limpopo, that has been commemorating the murdered farmers, addressed the protesters saying the situation is now out of control.

“Do you not think this is an act of genocide. That is genocide. So the reason why we are here today is to tell the world that there is trouble. There is big trouble in South Africa. There is something brewing here for the past 25 years.”

People who participated in the protest echoed Pienaar’s sentiments.

Several speakers urged farmers to go to the Senekal Magistrate’s Court in the Eastern Cape next week when the alleged murderers of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner is expected to be appeared again. They said it was important to show support to the family of the deceased but do so within the parameters of the law.