Farm murders: opposition MPs go head-to-head in fiery debate

02 September 2020 - 14:25 By Unathi Nkanjeni

On Tuesday, parliament debated the scourge of farm attacks and murders of farmers and farmworkers in SA.

This comes after the murder of Glen Rafferty and his wife Vida, who were shot dead at the entrance to their farm in Normandien, in the vicinity of Newcastle, KZN, on Saturday.  

The heated debate saw divided opinions from opposition parties.

Here are five takes from the debate.  

No sleep for farmers

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who led the debate, said the government needed to acknowledge the fear and danger faced by farmers and farmworkers.

“The men and women who feed SA don’t sleep. They do nightly patrols around their farms, and I know of wives who watch their husbands on cameras as they do their patrols in the dark. Watching for attackers, waiting to see if tonight is the night their husband will be killed.

“Unless they farm in Lekwa, Mpumalanga, where the electricity is cut week after week so the farmers live in total terrifying darkness as animals die of cold and everything rots in their fridges. They live the reality that it is four times more dangerous to be on a farm than in any other area of SA.”

The root cause of attacks

FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald expressed his gratitude to all people who persist with raising awareness about the plight of farm murders.

“There is a rural security plan with many positive aspects that the police updated in 2019. It now just needs to be implemented and executed. There is great willingness among the farmers of SA to work with the police in the implementation of this plan.

“The FF Plus also appeals to the minister of police, Bheki Cele, to conduct another in-depth investigation into farm murders, as with the special investigation into farm attacks and murders in 2003, to see what the root causes of this are.”

Not only white farmers, but black farmers too

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe said farm attacks and invasions were not directed at white farmers only as black farmers were also targeted.

“The ACDP calls on the government to stop paying lip service to this crisis and stop making empty threats to those promoting lawlessness in the country. They must punish the criminals.

“We also call on government to bring back rural commandos to help the police stop hate crimes against our food producers.”

Farm murders not 'white genocide'

ANC MP Zwelivelile Mandela acknowledged that farm murders in SA have been happening for far too long, but he warned against phrasing such as “white genocide”.

“We note with serious concern the negative affect that this kind of ludicrous claim of white genocide has on the potential agricultural investment in terms of domestic and foreign capital, even though such narratives are patently false.

“They serve to feed the frenzy of fear that harms our nation, dishonours our dad (former president Nelson Mandela), and deepens mistrust.” 

Farm murders are a 'mythmaking scam'

EFF MP Nonhlanhla Mkhonto dismissed farm murders as a “mythmaking scam”, saying attention was brought to the issue by white people to “dispossess black people from their land, murder them, and make them slaves in their own land”. 

“The debate about farm murders and even the so-called white genocide in this country is an extension of this mythmaking scam by right-wingers and those hell-bent on maintaining their colonially ill-gotten wealth by all means possible. The so-called white genocide in this country is done in a manner that seeks to project whites as victims and blacks as perpetrators of crime.”

 Starve the farm attackers before they starve the country