Police minister quits farm murder meeting after ANC mention
A meeting on rural crime between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and rightwingers was abandoned shortly after it began in Pretoria on Thursday.
Mthethwa said afterwards he took exception to the mention of the African National Congress at the beginning of the deliberations.
"As we started, the delegation raised issues about the ANC. I can’t talk about ANC matters on a government platform," he said.
"We were ready so that if there was anything that relates to crime matters we would attend it. We actually had to cancel the meeting."
The parties held separate news briefings, starting with Mthethwa and national police chief General Riah Phiyega, then leaders of the rightwing movement, Gelofte Volk (People of the Covenant).
Gelofte Volk leader Andre Visagie said the "Boer leaders" of three organisations -- Gelofte Volk, the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) and the Commando Corps -- wanted to discuss farm murders with Mthethwa.
"We wanted to discuss the security situation in South Africa. I had submitted the agenda of the meeting to the PA (personal assistant) of the minister," he said.
"It became clear that the minister was not informed [about the agenda] by his people. He told us that he didn’t know what we had on the agenda."
Visagie said that at the use of the word "ANC" instead of "government", the minister became upset.
"My perception is that it is the same thing because the ANC is the government. I said we are not sure whether the ANC supports the riots [at farm wage-related protests]," he said.
"He [Mthethwa] said 'now you are making it a political thing'."
Visagie is former general secretary of the AWB.
In 2010, he resigned to start the Gelofte Volk Republikeine, and said he wanted to fulfil a promise he made to slain AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche.
Visagie accused police of turning a blind eye to the violent protests accompanied by destruction of property by striking farmworkers in the Western Cape.
"We wanted to discuss with him what our people should do in circumstances when police are just audience, looking at damage being done to property."
Visagie said if happened again, his organisation would intervene and protect the farms.
Asked what they would do, he said he would be taking his firearm to the turbulent areas.
"I will take my legal firearm with me, I will go down to the Western Cape and book in at one of the farms being threatened," he said.
"If it comes to [the] push, I am going to help that farmer to protect his property, because the police have failed to do it."