COMMENT

A call for action against farm murders

Flip Buys writes on the growing alienation and anger among Afrikaners

Call for action against farm murders 14 October 2020

14 October 2020

Dear Friends

I am Flip Buys, Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement and of the AfriForum Board. Today, I want to talk to you about the scourge of atrocious farm attacks, and I want to ask you to take a stand against it with us.

There is growing alienation and anger among Afrikaners about the atrocious farm murders in the country. This is exacerbated by the government’s years of denying the crisis and their underplaying it as being part of “ordinary” crime in South Africa. However, the mounting cruelty of it shows that it is indeed naked terror and an undeclared crime war against innocent farmers. To downplay it as ordinary crime is to be complicit in the bloodshed.

The government is very vociferous when farmers misbehave, but when it comes to condemning farm murders, they speak in hushed tones. Let us be frank: There is a general feeling that, over a long period, ANC and EFF politicians have created the climate for violence against our farmers. That was done by, among other things, hate songs such as “Kill the Boer”, claims that farmers have stolen the land and the government’s policy of expropriation without compensation, all of which is an open attack on our farmers.

We live on a continent where famine is a frequent occurrence, but here our food producers are being vilified, screamed at and alienated. And killed. Food security should be a national priority and not just lip service. However, a farmer’s life is about much more than just the food chain. For me, farms conjure up images of farmers’ hospitality, family devotions, happy times around a campfire, family gatherings and an Afrikaans way of life. The earth and the grass and history are inscribed in the names given to farms. Farming is a way of life; not just a business. Farmers’ suffering is the suffering of us all. That is why we as city-dwellers, too, have become distressed about this injustice.

Chain reaction

When a farmer dies, the first link in the food chain is gone. A thousand plates turn empty. Dozens of workers land up living in corrugated steel houses in towns. A grandchild grows up without a grandmother and grandfather. An Afrikaans word is muted. A farmhouse stands empty – without laughter, social visits and famers’ hospitality. There is yet another empty chair at the farmers’ association, an empty seat in church, one voice less singing Psalm 23; a Bible, closed and covered in dust, is left behind; there are grandchildren who now live abroad, a way of life is becoming extinct, and a lonely tear is shed in the old age home.

When we ask for protection for our farmers, we are not asking a favour. Farmers, like any other human being, are entitled to protection. The government abolished the commando system, but never implemented an effective security system to replace it, as was promised. Time and again, the way the authorities treat farmers has shown that they do not care about our farmers. We want to see action, not just hear talk.

Senekal rally

AfriForum decided to hold a peaceful, safe and orderly rally in the Senekal vicinity against farm murders and violence this coming Friday 16 October. Strict discipline will be adhered to and everyone’s safety will be ensured. The Solidarity Movement supports this protest action and invites our members to attend and show their support. Together, we must take a strong public stand to show the robber gangs, the government and the world that we stand by our farmers.

This rally must ensure that the voice of the moderate middle ground is heard. We dare not let the strong, yet reasonable voice of the peaceful majority be silenced by a small group of rioters and the provocative actions of the radical ones in red. We dare not allow our just demand for strong action against murderers be smothered by political and racial agendas. We dare not let the attention be distracted from the plight of law-abiding famers – the real victims. We are fighting for safe farms, not against other races. It is in nobody’s interest that the healthy personal relationships that exist between people of different races are poisoned by poor political relationships.

AfriForum and Solidarity call for strong, yet responsible action. Now is not the time to take matters into one’s own hands or to act against the law. Then we cannot complain about the illegal actions of others, and it would only harm the farmers’ cause and their safety. AfriForum will decide on a suitable and safe location and will put proper measures in place so that everyone who has the safety of our farmers at heart will be able to demonstrate it in an orderly way on Friday.

On the occasion AfriForum’s plan for safe farms will be launched, and we will also announce a set of fair demands to be submitted to the President to ensure that we are not second-class citizens who are ruled in a third-class way.

We are tired of corruption that goes unpunished, widespread decay and the large-scale mismanagement that ravage our country. We are tired of the double standards that prevail in South Africa. We refuse to be second-class citizens. We are nobody’s subjects. The country is in crisis and confidence is at a low. The government must take responsibility for talking to all role players to find solutions to the pressing issues. Afrikaners are prepared to help but then the government should stop excluding us. The time has come to talk. The time has come to act.

By Flip Buys, Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, 14 October 2020