#BlackMonday the biggest protest ever against farm murders: Afriforum
Thousands of people across the country took to the streets on Monday to take part in what civic group Afriforum described as the biggest protest ever against farm murders.
The protest‚ dubbed #BlackMonday‚ was initially sparked by a video by Chris Loubser‚ a farm manager from Franschhoek‚ whose friend had been killed.
Since January‚ at least 341 farm attacks have already been carried out‚ in which 70 people have been murdered‚ according to Afriforum.
In Midvaal‚ traffic was backed up on the R59 route while near Pretoria the N1 South was blocked towards Lynnwood Road. Traffic SA reported a standstill traffic on the N4 Bakwena Highway which was blocked.
Police spokesperson Fikile Funda said more than 1‚000 people took part in the protest on the R59 in Sedibeng.
“There were also about 1‚500 cars that blockaded roads‚” Funda said.
He said the protest was peaceful and there had not been any incidents of violence.
Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi said the road closure on the R59 caused by the protests were affecting the economy.
“The road closure is affecting our economy directly‚”’ he said.
He said farm murders are an issue across the country‚ not just in Midvaal.
“There is nothing we can do without farmers. It’s important for us that we support our farmers and that law enforcement [agencies] do their job.”
Baloyi said while the farmers complained that their lives were at risk‚ the issue for him was that the route was open as it was important for the economy of local municipality.
Baloyi received a memorandum from protesting farmers.
Meanwhile‚ more than a thousand people gathered outside Kanonkop wine estate near Stellenbosch on Monday morning to show support for the victims of farm murders.
Supporters wore black t-shirts to protest against the murder of farmers after civil rights group AfriForum released statistics that showed commercial farmers are 4.5 times more likely to be killed than members of the general public. The recent murder of Stellenbosch wine farmer Joubert Conradie also sent shock waves through the farming community.
The large convoy of bakkies‚ tractors‚ horse-drawn carts and farm trucks left Kanonkop to travel to Greenpoint stadium near Cape Town’s CBD. They are expected to travel on Voortrekker Road instead of the N1‚ according to authorities from the City of Cape Town.
“We want Government to take note of the scale of farmers being murdered and take action‚” said Oscar Papendorf dressed in a black t-shirt with the slogan "Staan op teen plaasmoorde" (stand up against farm murders).
“We hope today’s mass action will show the frustration and anger we have towards the killing of our farmers.”
Afriforum chief executive Kriel said the protest was the biggest they have ever seen against farm murders.
“We are very happy with the attendance across the country. The protest was about sending a strong message that people are tired of farm murders.”
Kriel said Afriforum will organise another protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on November 25.
“This [Monday’s protest] was just the beginning. We are going ahead with more protests. Wearing black won’t solve the problem. What we need is for community safety initiatives to be strengthened‚” Kriel said.
He said the huge turnout of people in the protest was indicative of the fact that people were fed up with violent crimes.
“As much as this was a protest against farm workers‚ people are fed up with violent crimes generally‚” he added.
Agri SA’s executive director‚ Omri van Wyk‚ said the protest was to create awareness about crime in South Africa.
“All South Africans have reached a point where they can’t take it anymore‚” Van Zyl said.
He said the Black Monday protest was also to create an awareness of what needs to be done.
“The crime management framework needs to be developed. There is a need to bring the plight of all South Africans to the fore.”