Stop Farm Killing
Help Save The South African Farmers
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In 2010, the issue garnered greater international attention in light of the murder of the far-right political figure Eugene Terre'Blanche on his farm
South African statutory law does not define a "farm attack" as a specific crime. Rather, the term is used to refer to a number of different crimes committed against persons specifically on commercial farms or smallholdings.
According to the South African Police Service National Operational Co-ordinating Committee:
The South African government has been criticised both for not doing more to prevent farm attacks, and for giving the issue a disproportionate amount of attention:
- Gideon Meiring, chairperson of the TAU's safety and security committee, criticised the South African Police Service for failing to prevent farm attacks, stating that the police "are not part of the solution but part of the bloody problem".Meiring has assisted farming communities in setting up private armed patrols in their area.
- Kallie Kriel of AfriForum accused politicians, including Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana and her deputy Dirk du Toit, of inciting hatred against farmers, saying "Those who inflame hate and aggression towards farmers have to be regarded as accomplices to the murders of farmers." In particular, Kriel condemned claims that violence against farm workers by farmers was endemic. Kriel also highlighted a court case in which ANC MP Patrick Chauke publicly blamed the white community for murders and at which ANC demonstrators displayed slogans such as "One settler, one bullet!", "Kill the Boer, kill the farmer!" and "Maak dood die wit man" (Kill the white man). Simple theft could not be used to explain the full motive of the attacks as it was not necessary to torture or murder victims in order to rob them.
- Human Rights Watch criticised the government for placing too much emphasis on protecting farmers, at the expense of protecting farm workers from abuse by farm owners. They suggest that "farm attacks" are given a disproportionately high media and political focus. "Murders on farms (of owners, or of workers by owners) are given an individual attention that many other killings are not.
- In 2004, former South African journalist Jani Allan appeared on the Jeff Rense radio show to 7 million listeners. She denounced the attacks and accused the South African government of a genocidal campaign. She encouraged Americans to sponsor the emigration of poor Afrikaner families. Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson for the South African foreign affairs department, said the department would not respond to Allan's claims, as this would give her "undue attention she does not deserve". Afrikaner intellectual Hermann Giliomee has also slammed Allan. He said Allan should not be taken seriously. While there had been large numbers of farm murders, there was no evidence to prove that the killings were an orchestrated political campaign, he said.
Attacks on farms and smallholdings refer to acts aimed at the person of residents, workers and visitors to farms and smallholdings, whether with the intent to murder, rape, rob or inflict bodily harm. In addition, all actions aimed at disrupting farming activities as a commercial concern, whether for motives related to ideology, labour disputes, land issues, revenge, grievances, racist concerns or intimidation, should be included.
This definition excludes "social fabric crimes", that is those crimes committed by members of the farming community on one another, such as domestic or workplace violence, and focuses on outsiders entering the farms to commit specific criminal acts. The safety and security MEC for Mpumalanga, Dina Pule, has disagreed with this definition and has stated that "farm attacks" only included those cases "where farm residents were murdered, and not cases of robberies or attempted murders.Human Rights Watch has criticised the use of the term "farm attacks", which they regard as "suggesting a terrorist or military purpose", which they consider to not be the primary motivation for most farm attacks.
On September 15, 2011, Genocide Watch placed South Africa at level 6, Preparation, saying "we have evidence of organized incitement to violence against white people". However, on 2 February 2012, Genocide Watch returned South Africa to level 5, Polarization. Genocide Watch stated that by 2001 "2.2 percent of ethno-European farmers had already been murdered and more than... 12 percent of these farmers had been attacked on their farms". As of December 2011 approximately 3,158 - 3,811 ethnically-European farmers have been murdered in these attacks.
A Committee of Inquiry into Farm Attacks was appointed in 2001 by the National Commissioner of Police. The purpose of the committee was to "inquire into the ongoing spate of attacks on farms, which include violent criminal acts such as murder, robbery, rape, etc, to determine the motives and factors behind these attacks and to make recommendations on their findings.The Committee used the definition for farm attacks as that supplied by the SAPS. The findings were published on 31 July 2003, and the main conclusions of the report were that:
- Perpetrators tended to be young, unemployed black men overwhelmingly from dysfunctional family backgrounds.
- Only a small proportion of attacks involved murder, although the rate of murder had increased by 25% since 2005.
- Monetary theft occurred in 31.2% of the attacks, firearms were stolen in 23.0%, and 16.0% of farm attacks involved vehicular thefts. The committee noted that "there is a very common misconception that in a large proportion of farm attacks nothing is stolen and "various items are stolen in by far the greater majority of cases, and, in those cases where nothing is taken, there is almost always a logical explanation, such as that the attackers had to leave quickly because help arrived.
- White people were not targeted exclusively; in 2001 61% of farm attack victims were white.
- The total number of attacks was about 2,500, while farmers’ organisations state the figure to be closer to 3,000.
The Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) questioned a number of the report's findings, claiming that theft and desire for land did not adequately explain some of the attacks.
In March 2010, at a rally on a university campus, president of the African National Congress Youth League Julius Malema sang the lyrics "shoot the boer" (Dubul' ibhunu - "Boer" is the Afrikaans word for "farmer", but is also used as a derogatory term for Afrikaners).His singing was compared to similar chants by deceased Youth League leader Peter Mokaba in the early 1990s, "kill the boer",which had previously been defined as hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission.
Recently, Julius Malema was summoned for the criminal offence of hate speech by Solidarity and Afriforum in the Southern Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to explain his actions. On 16 May 2011 the judge in the case ruled that the use of the phrase was incitement to murder.In 2011 Afriforum youth and the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) brought an application forward against ANC youth league leader Julius Malema at the equality court over his singing of the song. Afriforum argued that “Boer” referred either to Afrikaners or farmers and that Malema was a public and influential leader, openly singing lyrics that incited violence towards an ethnic group, which constituted hate speech.
TAU said, that it was not about the intent but how the message was perceived by the targeted group or the group that felt targeted. ANC lawyers argued that the contentious lyrics were taken completely out of context and that he word "ibhunu" or even “boer” did not refer to Afrikaners, but to the system of apartheid. Expert witnesses stated that the chant, the words, could spur to violence, especially marginalised people. On 12 September 2011,
Judge Lamont ruled that the singing of the words shoot the boer amounts to hate speech. He also declared the singing of the song in any capacity to be illegal stating that he finds no possible justifications for singing the song. The ANC has announced that they will appeal the ruling
'Shoot the boer' decision a blow to the ANC
"[Court] findings [are] that the song not only constitutes hate speech, but that it serves as incitement to commit murder. This is borne out by the fact that various farm attacks have taken place..." said Christian Democratic Party (CDP) leader Reverend Theunis Botha.
"We find it hard to even imagine another country... a party participating
in an election, so strongly canvassing for the right to continue singing such a song," Botha said.
The National Association for the Advancement of Affected People (NAACAP), said that while many "ANC followers were disappointed" at the outcome, the public affected by "these irresponsible slogans" celebrated at large.
"It is time to move on, 17 years of democracy, surely the struggle is no longer against white-supremacy and apartheid," NAACAP said in a statement.
"The struggle is now against the untouchables -- those incompetent, lazy, power-crazy, corrupt government officials and politicians who are failing to deliver to the masses and are too arrogant and ignorant to realise that they can't fool all the people all the time."
Acting Judge Leon Halgryn made the ruling on Monday in the High Court in Johannesburg, leaving the ANC "extremely disappointed and puzzled".
In his order, Halgryn said: "... the publication and chanting of the words 'dubula ibhunu', prima facie satisfies the crime of incitement to murder".
This was an amendment to his original order that only contained the word "incitement" and formed part of a judgment which dismissed an attempt by the ANC to intervene in the matter and appeal his order.
The ANC said it would now take the matter to a higher court.
"We are perturbed and shocked by the acting judge's decision, as we believe that he appears to have misunderstood the nature of the relief which was sought by the ANC," it said in a statement.
The judgment is separate to the ongoing Equality Court hate speech case by AfriForum against ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema after he sang the words several times last year.
It relates to two members of the Society for the Protection of the Constitution where one member, Mahomed Vawda, planned to use the words at an anti-crime march in Mpumalanga last year.
Another member, farmer Willem Harmse, objected contending that the words meant "shoot the white man" or "shoot the boer" and that they would cause him injury. Harmse wanted an order granted against Vawda using the words.
The case was originally a low-key application between the two men, and of which the ANC was not aware.
Eventually, Harmse and Vawda settled.
Halgryn granted their settlement order that: the utterance or publication of the words "dubula ibhuna" was unconstitutional and unlawful and that translated, the words meant "shoot the boer/white man".
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