THE RECENT INCREASE IN FARM MURDERS AND FARM ATTACKS IN
Parliament 14 March 2017
(Debate on urgent matter of national importance in terms of Rule 130)
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, die vraag
Daar is ’n spesifieke rede hoekom ek die debat aangevra het oor plaasmoorde. Die rede is daarin dat as ons gaan kyk na die moordsyfer op polisielede is die syfer ongeveer 54 per 100 000 van die bevolking. In die geval van boere en plase, sien ons dat dit dan na 133 per 100 000 styg. Ek kan, met ander woorde, sê dit is amper drie keer gevaarliker om te boer in Suid-Afrika as om ’n polisieman of polisievrou te wees.
If one looks further, beyond the fact that the farmer and farm murder rate is 133 per 100 000, it is the agricultural sector that contributes 6,9% to GDP. We also know that almost a million people are employed in the agricultural sector. Therefore, it is very important. In addition, I also want to say that everything you have eaten to this today – or what you have drunk, besides pure water – was a product of the agricultural sector and produced by farmers.
I know that if we talk about statistics, there are different opinions about what the real numbers are. I did a study and I looked at the sources, specifically as far as the report on farm attacks of 2003 is concerned, which was compiled by the police with different members on that committee. I also looked at the crime statistics, as compiled by the SA Police Service. So, the statistics I am giving you are the statistics from the police.
According to these statistics, since 1991, there have been 2 393 murders on our farms in 14 589 farm attacks. Now, let me state it up front. There is a perception that if we talk about farm murders, we are only talking about white people. It is not true. According to the research, about 40% of all victims of farm murders are black people.
So, if you look at these statistics ... I also know the hon Minister of Police will show that there has been quite a decrease in farm murders and farm attacks. What we must also remember, however, is that the farming community has had no option other than to ensure that they look after their safety, themselves. Furthermore, because of the increased safety measures taken by the farmers, we have a decrease in farm murders.
The fact of the matter is this, however. Former President Thabo Mbeki said that when he disbanded the commando system he would ensure that there was something put in its place to ensure safety in our rural areas. That was actually the idea behind sector policing but at the moment, it does not work properly.
According to statistics given to the Portfolio Committee on Police, some of the police stations in our rural areas haven’t even started with sector policing. About 50% do not even fulfil the minimum requirements for sector policing. I received a call yesterday. In Upington, for instance, there is one police vehicle for 184 farms in that area, with four police members. It is not as successful as we think it is and I appeal to you that we have a look at this.
It has also been found, according to the report, that if you look at the causes of farm murders, less than 2% occurred where the victims of the murderers were known to the criminals. Less than 2%! I know that some people say it is because of mistreatment by the farmers, but that is what the research says. Research has also shown that about 2% are politically motivated.
Let me say that if we look at the farm murders, it is normally said that yes, it is only ordinary crime. Now, let me read to you from some of the cases of farm murders. I say that it is not ordinary crime if you look at the Lindley farmers. Willemien, a two-year-old toddler, her father and her mother were brutally murdered. When asked by state prosecutor, Jannie Botha, of his impressions of Potgieter’s body, Dr Book, the coroner, said, “The deceased had been tortured to death.”
I say it is not ordinary crime if you look, for instance, at the Swanepoel family in
I say it is not ordinary crime if you look, for instance, at the Schutter family of
I say it is not ordinary crime if you look at Dan Knight, also from
I say it is not ordinary crime if you look at the recent case of Nicci Simpson. The perpetrators used a plastic bag on her, cut her arms, broke her ribs and one knee, and even used an electric drill to drill holes in her feet. That is not ordinary crime.
I also say it is not ordinary crime, for instance, if you look at the farmer murdered near Parys. The murderers then actually took out his testicles, boiled them, cooked them, and ate them. [Interjections.]
That is the shocking picture and the inconvenient truth of farm murders. And I say it again – it is the inconvenient truth of farm murders. We cannot continue like this and therefore I call for a moment of silence for all those people murdered on our farms. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, your time has now expired.
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Thank you, Chair. At least some members had the respect to observe a moment of silence. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr F BEUKMAN: House Chairperson, hon members, and fellow South Africans ...
... die ANC wil met die aanvang van die debat dit baie duidelik stel dat die veiligheid van alle Suid-Afrikaners die prioriteit van die ANC en die regering is en alle rolspelers hierdie benadering moet ondersteun.
Ons verwelkom die geleentheid om vandag aan hierdie debat te kan deelneem met die oog daarop om oplossings te vind vir die knelpunt van landelike veiligheid en misdaad wat plaasgemeenskappe direk raak. Die ANC wil graag sy simpatie uitspreek met die families en vriende van alle persone in landelike gebiede wie as gevolg van misdaad beseer is of gesterf het. Die meerderheid van ons in hierdie raadsaal kom van landelike gebiede, en ons weet watter negatiewe invloed misdaad op die platteland kan hê in terme van lewensgehalte, samehorigheid en eenheid.
Dit is ’n debat wat maklik op retoriek en emosionele verdeling gebaseer kan wees. Dit is die verkeerde vertrekpunt. Ons moet bereid wees om landsbelang eerste te stel. Die toon van hierdie debat, die boodskap wat ons aan 55 miljoen Suid-Afrikaners stuur, en hoe om oplossings te vind, is die belangrikste. Die Vryheidsmanifes is baie duidelik: Suid-Afrika behoort aan almal wat hier bly.
In the words president O R Tambo:
“We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together ... and where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity.”
Die veiligheid en sekuriteit van alle Suid-Afrikaners moet altyd die hoogste prioriteit geniet. Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan, NOP, stel die ideaal van ’n Suid-Afrika waar almal veilig voel en is. Plase is deel van hierdie Suid-Afrika. Almal wat op plase bly, dit besit, en dit bewerk, moet veilig voel en wees.
I want to quote from one of the founding fathers of our new
“Beyond the immediate human suffering, lack of security and stability in our rural and farming community causes serious disruption to our economy. It threatens to bring reduced growth or production, loss of wages and profits and in time unemployment. It brings the spectre of deepening poverty, and potential social instability and upheaval. For all these reasons, these killings have to stop, and we should act together in doing so, for there is no other way to succeed.”
I want to repeat what former President Mandela said: “And we must act together in doing so, for there is no other way to succeed.”
Farms are often seen by criminals as soft targets for cash and firearms, largely because of the isolated nature of farms and smallholdings. Rural and farming communities are vulnerable to crime as resources are generally spread in favour of urban areas. The National Development Plan, NDP, states that access to justice and the safety of rural and farming communities demand special attention.
The nature of farm murders is often violent and brutal. However, there is no evidence to support any assertion that levels of brutality seen in farm murders are unique and isolated to the sector and crime. Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies states brutality of farm murders is a very difficult phenomenon to explain.
In 2016, rural safety, including incidents of violence on farms and smallholdings, was prioritised by the acting National Commissioner of Police. In order to facilitate the review process of the Rural Safety Strategy, a rural safety summit will be held later this financial year. The 2016-17 annual performance plan for the SAPS states that focused crime prevention operations and awareness campaigns will be enhanced in the 2016-17 financial year to include those areas and sectors of society that are vulnerable to crime including, inter alia, identified high crime areas, schools, the taxi industry, farms and smallholdings.
Very importantly, the definition of a farm attack was also amended to include incidents of violence on farms and smallholdings. It now reads:
“Acts of violence against persons on farms and smallholdings refer to acts aimed at persons residing on, working on or visiting farms and smallholdings, whether with the intent to murder, rape, rob or to inflict bodily harm.”
These include farm owners, farm workers and all other citizens of this country, irrespective of race, colour, creed, religion, or sex. The occurrence of farm attacks is not new in the crime patterns of the South African landscape. Overall, incidents of violence on farms and smallholding showed a steady decline between the 2010-11 and 2015-16 financial years. Murders reached its apex in 1997-98 with 153 victims. In the last financial year, the number of murders was 46.
In 2016, the SAPS conducted an analysis on farm attacks which showed a major shift in target selection from smallholdings to more isolated farms. Furthermore, another feature is that they mostly occur between Tuesdays and Saturdays at night time, with most victims being attacked whilst asleep. The SAPS indicated that most of the arrests effected were due to good co-operation from the local farming community.
The SA Human Rights Commission published recommendations after the 2014 hearings held on safety and security challenges faced by farming communities. Amongst others, it includes that the SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority step up their involvement in combating crimes against farming communities. Particular attention is given to race relations in farming communities. The stereotypes of farming in
Other practical steps proposed by the SA Human Rights Commission include farm watches to be incorporated into the Community Policing Forum. Farm owners need to allow government services access to their land more frequently. An evaluation of the programme to empower traditional leaders on safety and security in farming communities is needed.
It is the duty of all the members of this House to ensure that we continue to monitor the implementation of these recommendations. The implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy was based on four pillars: enhanced service delivery, integrated approach, community safety awareness, and rural development. We have taken note that SAPS’ Division Visible Policing has commenced with a review of the Rural Safety Strategy to ensure rural alignment to the NDP and to address specific community concerns.
On this side of the House, we are of the firm view that this review should be fast-tracked so that evolving threats to rural safety can be addressed as a matter of priority.
Die Portefeuljekomitee oor Polisie het juis op 26 Augustus 2016 ’n vergadering belê met die SA Polisiediens en rolspelers, waaronder die SA Menseregtekommissie, waar indringend na landelike veiligheid gekyk is. Daar was eensgesindheid by die vergadering dat die implementering van alle aanbevelings van die NOP die enigste manier is om die veranderende vraagstuk van landelike veiligheid aan te spreek.
Dit sluit, onder andere, die volgende praktiese stappe in. Kommunikasiehulpmiddels en vroeëwaarskuwingstelsels moet geprioritiseer word om lang afstande en swak infrastruktuur in landelike gebiede aan te spreek. Opleidingswerkswinkels oor veiligheid en misdaadvoorkoming moet gesamentlik vir boere en plaaswerkers aangebied word. ’n Veiligheidsplan wat fokus op die veiligheid van almal moet vir elke plaas ontwikkel word, veral die mees weerlose en dié wie die meeste blootgestel is. Die plaaswagstelsel moet oor die nodige kapasiteit beskik en ondersteuning van die plaaslike polisiestasie ontvang. Die plaas- en landelike gemeenskap moet ondersteun word deur die besigheidsgemeenskap in die landbouveld.
Die onlangse aanvaarding van die Witskrif oor Polisiëring en die Witskrif oor Veiligheid en Sekuriteit deur die Kabinet is ’n belangrike stap om die grondslag te lê vir die verbetering en versterking van landelike veiligheid. ’n Goue draad loop deur beide witskrifte: samewerking tussen die gemeenskap en die polisie, samewerking tussen landelike munisipaliteite en die plaasgemeenskappe, asook samewerking tussen georganiseerde landbou en die polisie.
One component of the SAPS that is critical in ensuring that crime syndicates and gangs operating in rural communities are identified, profiled, and arrested is Programme 4: Crime Intelligence. In the new financial year, an amount of R3,3 billion is made available to this programme.
The ANC believes that Crime Intelligence should up its game to ensure that the management of crime intelligence and the analysis of crime information in rural areas lead to a reduction in attacks and rural crime. The ANC believes that we need more network operations in rural areas and an increase in tactical and operational intelligence products in support of policing activities.
The new specialised unit, located within the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, that focuses on illegal firearms will be a critical force multiplier in investigating cases where firearms are the instruments used to commit rural attacks. In November 2016, the SAPS had embarked on a campaign to recruit a new intake of police reservists. It is also an opportunity for citizens in rural communities to become part and parcel of the effort to assist the SAPS in their fight against crime.
In the strategy and tactics document, the ANC indicates that the national struggle for freedom was a critical overarching vehicle to bring about peace, security, and stability to our society. In dealing with issues of crime, the ANC proceeds from the premise that a rising quality of life also means improvement in the safety and security of citizens in their homes and environments where they live, work, and engage in extramural activities. These principles are critical in addressing the challenges of crime, especially its uniquely random and violent nature in our country.
The ANC national executive committee’s 2017 January 8 statement stated:
“We call on our people to work with the criminal justice system and to report all instances of crime. Let us unite in the face of these criminals who seek to undermine our freedom.”
I want to close with the words of former President Mandela at that rural summit:
“The strongest shield for each farm or the farming community as a whole is the people that reside on the farms - farmers and workers, land owners and tenants alike. The conditions under which they live do affect the way they respond in the event of an attack ... The solution to the problem of farm killings must emerge from all of us. I am convinced that any political differences notwithstanding, this is one issue on which we can speak with one voice. I am of the view that even if at times the chorus may have been discordant, we are singing the same song. South Africans are a daring people who do not shy away from a challenge ... This is yet another challenge we must tackle with pride and determination. Together we can make our rural areas safe. I thank you.”
Ms A STEYN: Chairperson, today, we are participating in a debate to discuss murder. Murder is the unlawful and intentional killing of another human being.
Voorsitter, plaasmoorde lê na aan my hart. Ek is ’n gebore plaasmeisie en weet hoe dit voel om by die plaashek in te ry en te wonder of daar dalk onwelkome gaste op my wag. Ek weet hoe dit voel om in die nag wakker te word as ek vreemde geluide hoor en om dan stil in die donker op te staan en versigtig deur die huis te beweeg om seker te maak dat alles buite nog reg is. Ek vrees elke dag dat iemand na aan my en waarvoor ek lief is op ’n plaas vermoor kan word.
Wat ek nie weet nie, is hoe dit voel om te hoor dat een van jou geliefdes of werkers in ’n plaasmoord gesterf het. Terwyl moord in ons land buite beheer is, kan niemand hier vandag sê dat hul nie bewus is van die gruwelmoorde wat op Suid-Afrikaanse plase plaasvind nie.
We may disagree with the reasons for these murders. Some may say it is because farmers mistreat their workers or because they stole our land, but we have to agree that the torture of any person by another is inhumane and barbaric. [Applause.] This year alone, we have seen more than 70 attacks on farms where 20 people lost their lives.
Let me tell you how three of these attacks happened. On 13 January this year, the 69-year old Mrs Kidson was killed while recovering from a hip operation and sitting in a wheelchair. Mrs Kidson was repeatedly stabbed with a sharp object and then her throat was slit. Her husband was also found with his throat slit.
Op 22 Februarie het Sue Howarth na twee dae in die intensiewesorg-eenheid die stryd gewonne gegee. Sue het ’n gruweldood gesterf. Haar liggaam was vol meswonde, haar borste was gebrand en haar oë was toegeswel. Net om seker te maak dat sy wel doodgaan, het die aanvallers ’n swartsak in haar keel gedruk en haar toe ook nog in die kop geskiet.
This past weekend, the 62-year old Nicci Simpson was tied to a chair and tortured with an electrical drill, drilling holes in her feet, legs and knees. Her ribs were broken and she was stabbed multiple times. Luckily, she survived this horrific attack.
How is it even possible that one person gets burned with hot water, an iron, dripping plastic, a blow torch, and slaughtered like an animal and nobody says a word? Why are we quiet when it comes to crimes affecting farming and rural communities? Could I assume that we are quiet because these victims are farmers?
Hierdie aanvalle is nie slegs teen boere nie, plaaswerkers word ook hierdeur geraak. Inligting versamel deur Vrystaat Landbou wys dat daar reeds 12 aanvalle hierdie jaar in die Vrystaat plaasgevind het. In sewe gevalle was dit teen plaaswerkers gerig. Op Saterdag 11 Maart is twee werkers naby Kroonstad deur 10 rowers aangeval en aangerand.
Crime and violence are affecting and dehumanising all people in farming and rural communities, irrespective of their racial identities. Why then does the government turn a blind eye to this? Why does the government refuse to take decisive action to protect its farming and rural communities?
Instead, what we have seen is political leaders using rhetoric that only serves to incite hate and more violence. The President sings, “bring back my machine gun” while people are murdered by gangs bringing their machine guns. Others tell their followers to invade land illegally, while singing, “one settler, one bullet”.
We cannot allow this to spiral into racial hatred and to divide our people along racial lines. We have to stand up and condemn all murders. It cannot be allowed to torture a person over two days and no one says a word.
It cannot be allowed for a person to shoot someone and then say: “I thought it was a monkey.” We must take collective responsibility for our divided country by ensuring that all our citizens feel safe and secure.
Ek het die afgelope maand na Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng en die Vrystaat gereis om met boere oor landelike veiligheid te praat. Die Demokratiese Alliansie stel die volgende voor.
Eerstens, plaasaanvalle moet as prioriteitsmisdaad geklassifiseer word, sodat meer hulpbronne aan die landelike veiligheidseenhede toegewys kan word.
Tweedens, dit is belangrik dat hierdie aanvalle vorentoe as ’n afsonderlike misdaadkategorie vir statistiese doeleindes geklassifiseer word.
Derdens, misdaadintelligensie moet betrokke wees, ten einde te bepaal of daar ’n skakel tussen plaasaanvalle waar kriminele vir wapens soek en ander sindikaatverwante misdade in Suid-Afrika bestaan. Plaasaanvalle word goed beplan en uitgevoer en kan nie meer as gewone misdaad beskou word nie.
Verder, die programme vir reserviste in landelike gebiede moet behoorlik geimplimenteer word, met ‘n daadwerklike poging om boere, plaaswerkers en plaasbewoners te werf en op te lei.
Laastens, ondersteuning vir trauma moet aan die slagoffers en hulle families verskaf word, om hierdie gruwelike werklikheid te hanteer.
This is a fundamental human rights issue and people living on farms must be treated equally in this regard. The ANC should not show less care to a particular group of people based on race.
Condemnation of these attacks should come from government and stereotyping of farmers must stop. The Democratic Alliance would like to offer its condolences to all people who have lost their loved ones in our violent
Ms O HLOPHE: House Chair, let us remind the FF Plus about the following.
Firstly, in January 2016, Seun Tangasha, who was 29 years old and Samuel Tjexa, who was 35 years old and worked as casual labourers on a farm in Parys were killed by a group of white farmers. Their only sin was demanding that their employer, Lodewikus van der Westhuizen, pay them their salaries.
Secondly, in October 2016, two white farmers, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson appeared in court for forcing a black person, Victor Mlotshwa, into a coffin, because they alleged that he was trespassing by entering their land. I wonder what land in
Thirdly, in January this year, Mark Scott-Crossley was arrested in Pretoria. Last year, Scott-Crossley attacked a wildlife centre worker and smashed his cellphone before running him over twice with a vehicle. There was not a single statement from the FF Plus. The employee, Silence Mabunda, was hospitalised after the incident. In 2004, Scott-Crossley was convicted of masterminding the premeditated murder of a farm worker by throwing him to lions. Again, there was no FF Plus. He was sentenced to life, but this was commuted to a five-year sentence by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Fourthly, last week, not long ago, a white farmer in Letsitele farming area in
These are a few examples of a very widespread phenomenon of racial abuse and killing of black people and black workers, in particular, by white farmers.
Last year, a Danish filmmaker, Tom Heinemann, released a documentary named Bitter Grapes, which explores the working conditions of farm workers in
These cases received no attention from the Freedom Front Plus, Afriforum and other right wing groups because the abuse and killing of black people is normal and accepted in right wing circles. We must not be fooled here.
South Africa has a serious problem of crime and it was recently reported that on average, nine people are killed on the
The fact-checking website, Africa Check, has previously established that whites make up 1,8% of total murder victims in
It is black people who have to endure the violence of poverty every single hour of their existence in our townships, because they do not have land.
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Hon Chairperson, any one single murder in South Africa against any one single South African, irrespective of race, colour or creed, is a murder too many.
An attack upon any one segment of society or class of people in
The SAPS is a serious concern, and whilst we fully acknowledge and commend the bravery and efforts of our thousands of police officers out there on the streets, we remain extremely concerned that we are losing the fight against crime and in particular the fight against serious crime in this country.
Visible policing in our rural areas, farmlands and outerlying communities must be increased and be better resourced. Community policing in the form of the SAPS reservists for instance must also be more greatly encouraged and supported. All murder and serious crime must be prioritised by the SAPS. The SAPS’ comprehensive rural safety plan must also be structured so that it adequately deals with all murders perpetrated against those of all racial segments.
We call upon the Minister of Police to not only acknowledge that murder in our rural areas and farmlands is way out of control but also to personally visit the SAPS stations in areas where these crimes are occurring and to commission audits into the policing shortcomings in these areas.
Food security is being eroded and farmers are fleeing. We are already importing millions of tons of maize. This was never the case before. The land issue must also be resolved to the satisfaction of all South Africans as failure to do so will do nothing but fuel further divisions.
Agb Voorsitter, Suid-Afrika is ’n land vir almal wat binne sy grense lewe. Gemeenskappe moet met die polisie teen kriminele elemente binne ons gemeenskappe saamstaan sodat ons in vrede kan saam lewe. Baie dankie. [Applous.]
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you hon Chairperson, hon members of this House and distinguished guests in the gallery. Since the start of 2017, a total of 26 farmers have been brutally murdered. Recent statistics indicate that as many as one farm attack a day occurs across the country. February recorded the most farm murders in a single month since 1990 with a total of 46 attacks and 16 farm murders. It is estimated that approximately 4 200 farm attacks occurred between 1990 and 2017, and 1 878 farm murders resulted from these attacks.
A murder of anyone should not be tolerated and accepted, be it a farmworker, be it somebody in the
However, behind all the statistics lies a tale of violence, trauma and pain. The attacks on farm owners are known to be extremely violent and are often accompanied by brutal torturing in the most barbaric way. The cost to human life should give rise to great concern to all peace-loving South Africans and we should condemn these acts with one voice.
One of the consequences of these farm attacks is the rising threat to our nation’s food security. Fewer farmers mean less food. It is as simple as that. As it is,
We have to ask ourselves what can be done to prevent these attacks on farmers. The NFP is greatly encouraged by the rural safety strategy of the police which shows signs of potential for success. The crux of the strategy rests on co-operation between farmers and the police, and it is of utmost importance that the farming community has faith in the police. Conversely, the police need to ensure that they are proactive and visible in their efforts to root out farm attacks.
Finally, the NFP does not believe that the essence of farm attacks is motivated by race. All farmers in
Mr M L W FILTANE
Mr M L W FILTANE: Thank you, hon Chair. I wish to preface my contribution to this debate by saying that the UDM is keenly aware of the plight of farmers who have fallen victim to what we generally call farm attacks. The UDM, without reservation, condemns these attacks of violence, murder and lawlessness that are the daily characteristics of our communities.
However, we wish to direct our attention to another kind of farm attack. On Friday 25 March 2016, on a Good Friday and ironically in a human rights month, a 6-year-old boy was attacked by a baboon on a farm near
The recent shooting of a farmworker in
These examples are a clear indication that the relationship between farm dwellers, workers and owners is at its lowest ebb. The lives of farmworkers and dwellers are not taken seriously by the landowners and they even give animals better treatment and protection than they do to their workers whom they pay meagre wages anyway.
The SA Human Rights Commission confirmed these observations when they briefed the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform in February this year. They conducted site inspections, some unannounced, on farms throughout the country and found, amongst others, the following:
Firstly, there is a challenge in accessing privately-owned farms in the
Secondly, there have been several complaints related to water and sanitation access on farms;
Thirdly, there has been a lack of access to food and electricity for farm dwellers;
Fourthly, several farm families were allegedly forcibly removed from a farm in the Breede River Valley and placed in an informal settlement known as Spooky Town; and
Farmworkers and their families must be freed from continuous physical, social and economic isolation. Government needs to speed up its programmes aimed at ensuring that families have access to services such as schools and the rest.
As a society we must continue with our efforts to ensure the peaceful and mutually-beneficial coexistence of farmers and farmworkers, including the surrounding communities. A stern warning against the violation of human rights on farms must be issued. This kind of behaviour must be rejected by all of us. An integrated approach must be adopted to ensure that the lives of farmers, farmworkers and dwellers are supremely respected. It is time for us to join hands in the movement that works towards finding lasting solutions to the socioeconomic challenges that face the farming communities in our country.
Mr M G P LEKOTA
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Thank you, Chairperson. My dear friends, let’s remind each other that we have approximately 35 000 South African farmers who provide food to approximately 90% of the population of our country. As we reduce those numbers for any number of reasons, the food becomes expensive for all of us in this country and the poor people in particular suffer more than those of us who are sitting in this House.
I would like to make the point that if we are going to stop what is going on in the countryside, we must start in this House. We in this House are elected leaders of the people of
Here we have in the office of the President somebody who goes telling people that they are going to take land without compensation, in spite of what the party says. Somebody who lacks a political backbone.
I was part of the decisions and I make no ... I don’t hide it. I supported and I still support the Constitution we adopted ... the rules and the clauses that we undertook.
When the President says the things he says today which are in conflict with that Constitution when he was part of it, and therefore misleads young people to do things that they are doing, I must speak. [Interjections.]
Also, all the members of this House, all of us in this House, carry that responsibility. We cannot keep quiet when hon Malema, who is not here this morning, stands on platforms and swears at some sections of the population, threatens them and says they must wait until he comes to power and he will go and walk all over them. Hulle moet oppas! [They must watch out!] We can’t keep quiet.
Men and women of backbone must speak so that our children are not misled, and so that generations to come don’t slaughter each other as the Tutsis and the Hutus slaughtered each other in the case of
An HON MEMBER: On a point of order.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... cannot keep quiet because we know what can result from this.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Lekota, will you just take your seat.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Whether you are black or white, whether you are Cope or EFF, whether you are FF Plus or not, we ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Lekota, your time has now expired.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... cannot allow you to say the things ...
An HON MEMBER: On a point of order.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: ... which will make South Africans kill each other. I reject this. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Lekota, your time has expired.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: I’m not yet finished and I’m worried that my time is getting ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No hon member, your time has expired.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Lekota, your time has expired. Please take your seat.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Lekota, your time has expired. Your time has expired. You must take your seat please.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: [Inaudible.] [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART: Dankie Voorsitter. The ACDP is dankbaar vir vandag se debat en ons wil ook ons innige simpatie betuig aan alle slagoffers van misdaad, van alle misdade in die land en in die besonder vandag vir slagoffers van plaasaanvalle.
Die hoë vlak van plaasaanvalle is onaanvaarbaar en die hoë vlak moet ’n bron van groot kommer vir ons wees. Ons moet bid vir ons nasie. Ons moet bid vir elke burger in die land, in besonder vandag vir die boere en die plaaswerkers. Die huidige situasie is onaanvaarbaar.
I want to agree with the hon Lekota. As responsible leaders we need to watch our narrative. What are we saying in this nation? Are we building up or are we speaking death and destruction? The enemy comes to steal, rob and destroy. Let us follow the example of Jesus who comes so that we can have life and life in abundance.
It is the primary role of the state to protect its citizens. It is significant that whilst we have an unacceptably high murder rate of 34 people per 100 000 in this nation, for farmers the figure is 97 per 100 000, almost three times the average amount. To put this into perspective, the rate for another high-risk group, the police, is 52 per 100 000.
Let us make it clear that it is not only farmers that are being attacked and not only white farmers, but also farmworkers. It is across the board. So we need to pay more than lip service. We need to take action to address this issue and we believe that whilst much has been done, much more needs to be done.
The other issue of great concern which was alluded to by other hon members is the level of brutality meted out in many of these incidents. The excessive violence and torture used is a huge concern and this needs to be addressed. Whilst we welcome speedy arrests and we welcome the improved rural safety that is being implemented, the SAHRC in its 2015 report said that the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, need to step up their involvement in combating crime affecting farm communities.
We also know that this is a threat to our food security if we do not address the situation as a matter of urgency. As far back as 1998, former President Nelson Mandela warned that, “Beyond the immediate human suffering, lack of security and stability in our rural and farming community causes serious disruption to our economy”, which obviously includes food production.
So as we from the ACDP have said, when the commandos were replaced we need to have improved ... It was promised that rural safety will enjoy a high priority. We believe that there is a high level of improvement that is required. We cannot fail our farmers; we cannot fail our farmworkers; we cannot fail our citizens in society. Let us do more.
Mr S N SWART
Ms M R SEMENYA: Hon House Chairperson, hon members and the guests at the gallery, good afternoon. Hon House Chair, I think all of us know ...
... gore Ntate Lekota o ganana le Mopresidente Zuma ...
... and it is his problem and not ours. Hon House Chair, acts of violence and human rights violations on any segment of the population are condemned. As such, the alleged increase in farm murders and farm attacks should not be looked at in isolation to human rights of all who live and work in farming communities i.e. farm owners, farm workers and farm dwellers. The SA Human Rights Commission, SAHRC, has published a number of investigative reports on human rights violations in farms including the latest 2015 report on safety and security challenges in farming communities. The often remote geographical locations of farming communities make them vulnerable to human rights violations, including crime.
Any criminal activity in farming communities is a matter of concern due to the negative impact that such activities may have on the sustainability of farming and food production for the country. Official crime statistics that we receive from the SA Police Service do not categorise crime as happened in a rural and farming areas or an urban and peri-urban areas. Therefore, it becomes hard to talk about an increase in farm murders and farm attacks with conviction when there is no empirical data from independent research that shows that there are attacks that are specifically targeted at farming communities when compared to the rest of the population, which is equally affected by crime.
In the interest of sustaining our agricultural sector and the country’s food security, there is a need to discuss human rights violations in any sector of the agricultural sector including the abuse of farm workers and farm dwellers. Previous reports of the SAHRC and a 2011 report by the Human Rights Watch have widely documented human rights violations and abuse of farm workers and farm dwellers. In recent months and weeks, we have also heard of incidents of shootings and killings of farm workers, who were mistaken for monkeys or warthogs. The worrying factor is that we did not hear any condemnation of such killings by other farmers or people concerned with attacks on farming communities.
While farm workers may not create jobs and not contribute much to the national revenue regarding taxes, they remain the backbone of the agricultural sector. They are the reason that it is possible for
To address human rights violations in farming communities in a holistic manner, there is a need to strengthen coordination amongst and between government departments in all spheres of government, industry role-players, farm worker representatives and nongovernmental organisations. It must also be mentioned that central to the debate is our continued call for the strengthening of social cohesion to ensure that our nation achieves the values of a caring society, inspired by the traits of human compassion which informed our struggle against colonialism. Indeed, the need to build co-operation among South Africans is a responsibility of all South Africans.
We also believe that social cohesion in a national democratic society also depend on the extent to which the rights of those in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder are protected. As such, our society should proceed from the obvious premise that workers’ rights are human rights, and these rights should find expression in law-governed measures to ensure decent jobs, job security and a living wage. Through legislation and other means, the state should manage the environment for fair and balanced relations between employers and employees. We also call our public media to play a critical role in promoting social cohesion.
There is also a need for additional research on the experiences of farm dwellers, farm workers and farm owners as has been recommended by the SAHRC in its 2015 report. It is emphasised that such research should be carried out by an independent and competent authority that has no interest in the matter and should be able also to highlight positive cases that can serve as examples for the rest of the farming communities.
One positive example of good farm owner and farm worker relationship is the Solms-Delta Wine Estate in the Franschhoek, an area of the
Tšhomišanommogo ya badiredi le beng ba dipolasa e bohlokwa go setšhaba sa gešo gore re dule re na le dijo, ebile re tšhireletšegile mo Afrika-Borwa.
I thank you.
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: House Chairperson, as it has been alluded to by other previous speakers, as the AIC, we are also perturbed to learn that a human being was mistaken for an animal and subsequently shot in the head. Those are the things we shouldn’t see happening in our democracy.
In 1996, the South African constitutional settlement was formalised. Our political, social and constitutional pact leaned towards a democratic establishment underpinned by human right, culture, social justice, freedom and security. As a consequence, the state was to assume a vanguard role to advance the wellbeing of all South Africans.
Section 7, subsection 2 of the Constitution places this obligation on the states in the following terms: the state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights. The AIC literature review on the state of farming communities in
In an emotive telephonic interview with TAU SA President, Mr Louis Meintjes, we sought to understand TAU SA’s assessment of the state of farming communities. Mr Meintjes ascribes: firstly, to radical slogans of land invasion; secondly, lack of political will to accept that farm killings are not ordinary crimes; thirdly, inadequate sector policing; and lastly, lack of government coherence to be behind these killings.
According to an article by the Institute for Security Studies, ISS, on an average day, more than 49 people are murdered in
The Human Rights Commission released a report in 2015, entitled “Safety and Security Challenges in Farming Communities”, which had been preceded by a series of hearings with government, farming interest groups and unions. The general sentiment was that farmers and workers respectively were vulnerable, and that farm attacks should be made a priority crime and that terminology used to define killings be improved.
The Human Rights Commission recommended after the hearings that the SA Police Services, SAPS, and the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, quantum leap their involvement in combating crimes ... Thank you very much. [Time expired.]
Mr M A PLOUAMMA: House Chair, hon members, statistics of unlawful eviction, exploitation and not allowing families to perform rituals on the graveyards of their ancestors are harrowing. We should stop this political romance or convenience of pleasing white farmers, who most of them do not care about the working conditions of farm workers.
AgangSA, believe that white farmers should stop vomiting on the forgiveness of black, which has displayed itself since 1994. They should stop assaulting and murder of farm workers. They must assist in building social cohesion. While AgangSA is not condoning farm attacks or murders, white farmers should minimise their arrogance and recognise that things have changed and they have to share with black people. They must embrace a nonracial society.
If you go to most of these farms, farm workers are treated like animals. When you check where they live, even pigs can go on strike to refuse to live there but our people are subjected to these conditions by the same white farmers, who have no mercy, very sadistic and deriving pleasure from the suffering of our people.
White farmers, like everyone, who benefited from the past, should sacrifice to the betterment of our people. It is the same white farmers who put farm workers into coffins. It is same the same white farmers who shot ... [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: On a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (MR C T Frolick): Hon Plouamma, would you just take your seat, please? Why are you rising, hon member?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chairperson, it’s a point of order and I wish to refer the annotated digest of rulings in this House. On 28 February, a member rose to a point of order to object to a statement made by another member, and I quote: “white people in this country stole the wealth they have”. There was a considered ruling from the presiding officer at the time, Dr Ranchod around the use of racial stereotyping, which he defined as referring to gross generalisations about alleged negative characteristics possessed by a group, whether made by white people about blacks or for that matter, made by blacks about whites.
I would submit to you, House Chairperson, that there is a gross racial stereotyping of white farmers by the hon Plouamma that has no place in this House. In that particular ruling, the member was ordered to withdraw. I would ask you to please apply your mind to that. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (MR C T Frolick): Hon member, I will check exactly what the member said. Continue with your speech, hon member!
Mr M A PLOUAMMA: House Chair, they shot a black person mistaking them for a baboon. Organisations like Solidarity, Afriforum and Steve Hofmeyer kept quite. It is our held view that those who commit such barbaric deeds invite hatred and revenge.
Evection of farm workers unlawfully from farms is another sign of undermining the gains of our democracy.
In conclusion, white farmers must endeavour to create beneficial relationship with the farm workers and their surrounding communities. We must inculcate the spirit of Ubuntu. They must show remorse and repugnancy it deserves when a farm worker or a member of a community is killed or murdered by a farmer. These will show and go a long way in a harmonious living with communities. Communities will always be valuable in protecting farmers.
But we all know that most of these farmers curse the day democracy was ushered in
Mr Z N MBHELE: Chairperson, it is absolutely despicable that we can have the kind of divisive ways of rhetoric that is undermining of the reconciliation agenda in this country as we have just heard. Those kinds of generalisation and stereotypes are exactly the reason why we will continue to have divisions that keep us separated.
Section 205(3) of our Constitution states that the objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law. On all of these points, the South African Police Service, SAPS is struggling and failing when it comes to crime in farm communities and the safety of farm dwellers.
This is not because we don’t know what to do to improve safety and security in these communities, but rather it is because the police service lacks the right leadership, both political and managerial, to address the problem.
The SAPS is the key state institution for ensuring that all people live in safety, free from crime and violence, but it is failing in fulfilling that duty due to poor leadership and skewed priorities that undermine the fight against crime on the ground.
The 2016 White Paper on Policing outlines that the police service must be rooted in a community-centred approach, a key demonstration of which is to be responsive to the vulnerabilities and policing needs of local communities.
To quote the White Paper: “at local level the SAPS must be equipped to respond to the risks, vulnerabilities and policing needs of the disparate communities it serves”.
This echoes the DA’s longstanding call for the localisation of policing through greater autonomy for police stations. Because crime threats vary drastically from community to community, the SAPS approach of a centralised crime-fighting strategy often undermines the ability of police stations to respond to the very specific needs of their communities.
In this regard, there are multiple instances of SAPS failure to be responsive, both structurally and operationally, to the local policing needs of farm communities.
During a visit last month to the town of Belfast in Mpumalanga with my colleague, hon Steyn, following another farm attack, we heard from the local councillor about numerous examples of how the SAPS is hopelessly handicapped to do its job:
In a context where one ward can sometimes be as large as encompassing three towns, one police station has to cover a geographically massive policing precinct, involving long travelling distances and usually covering multiple settlements.
Secondly, outside of roads between and within towns, most vehicular travel has to be on gravel roads and sometimes on no roads at all. This terrain requires tougher, more agile police vehicles that can take hard knocks and won’t be rendered useless after it rains because they get stuck in mud too easily
Lastly, the understaffing and inadequate number of police vehicles means that when a suspect in custody and has to be transported to another town for a court appearance, normal sector policing operations are deprived of the cars and officers their need for visible patrolling and rapid response.
The SAPS is also missing a huge opportunity in the fight against farm attacks and other crimes in rural areas when it comes to police reservists. The White Paper on Policing is clear that the effective use of reservists contributes to strengthening policing at station level and the implementation of crime prevention initiatives.
So, this is what the DA would do to improve the safety and security of farm communities and to reduce farm attacks, because everybody knows that the ANC is not going to get around getting it done anytime soon.
Firstly, we will give greater budgetary freedom, because often station commanders are prevented from adapting resource allocation according to their specific needs because of centralised bureaucratic practice in the SAPS. The DA would give more discretionary management authority for these decisions to be localised so that stations could deal with problems more effectively, for example, given that policing precincts usually cover a large area, a station commander would be free to ensure the operation of a larger number and spread of satellite police stations.
Secondly, we will allow for the local sourcing of equipments. Under a DA government, police stations would be allowed to procure equipment and services directly from approved local suppliers based on station needs.
This means that they would be sure, for example, to get the right kind of vehicles for their context, instead of being subject to decisions from higher up in the hierarchy that are ill- suited for their needs.
It also means that vehicles would not languish at a centralised SAPS garage for weeks or months on end for repairs or maintenance while communities are poorly protected by an under-resourced and under-equipped police service.
Thirdly, we will boost operational personnel numbers with a strong reservist call. The DA would ensure rigorous vetting and training, coupled with strong accountability, to ensure that volunteer reservist’s behaviour and conduct is in line with the ethos and expectations of permanent SAPS members.
The DA stands ready to lead a national government that will fix the police service and ensure safety and security for all in particular farming communities.
In order for us, as a nation to harness the full potential of our people, we need safe homes and safe streets.
The DA is becoming the hope of more and more citizens to realise the dream of a country free from fear and we must stand together to condemn all farm attacks as vial, disgusting, despicable and deplorable and only under the DA can we defeats this evil. I thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Chairperson, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for this opportunity. We certainly find all the inputs invaluable and critical as this august House ponders on the pressing issues of farm murders and farm attacks, and their bearing on the farming community, food security and economic development. Therefore it is appropriate that we are having this debate today as we surely must, robustly and sincerely. We must continue debating matters that perturb the nation and do so in an illuminating manner that helps build our nation.
Since 1912, the ANC premised its vision of a new society on values such as equality before the law, justice and a fundamental respect for human rights. Furthermore, as clearly articulated in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution, the ANC regards the right to life as one of the cornerstones of a democratic and civilised society. Indeed all lives matter, and farm murders are a cause for concern as are murders of any human being in our country irrespective of race, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation or country of origin.
As a leader of society, the ANC and its government are committed to the safety and security of all and, this includes those South Africans who constitute our farming community. We understand the vulnerability of farmers when it comes to various contact crimes, and have no desire whatsoever to trivialise the killings and attacks on our compatriots who happen to be farmers, and are mostly white.
Farm killings have got to be understood within the bigger context of criminality in our country, and while they are a major concern, it is pertinent that we do not unduly exaggerate them nor give an impression that there is a widespread political campaign to kill white farmers or drive them into the sea.
Crime statistics from the SA Police Service, SAPS, show that from 2001, criminal incidents on farms have been markedly declining in recent years. In the 2001-02 period for an example, there were 1 069 incidents on farms, with 103 murders. Meanwhile, in the 2015-16 period, the number of criminal incidents decreased to 457, with subsequent murders reduced to 50. This represents a decrease of about 57% in the total number of reported incidents and a decrease of 51% on murders.
A closer look at the 2016-17 period quarterly statistics reveal that both the number of reported incidents and the number of farm murders have been declining. In the first quarter, we reported 112 incidents with 19 murders. Those numbers were reduced to 102 reported incidents with 11 murders in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the number of incidents went down to 93 with the subsequent number of farm murders slightly rising to 16. The ANC government continues to use insightful crime fighting strategies to ensure that our farming communities are safe and secure.
Ladies and gentlemen, a loss of life is one too many. Thus these statistics are by no means celebratory. We are proud of efforts and strategies that the ANC and its government have implemented to reduce crime on farms and protect all citizens.
The SAPS’s Rural Safety Strategy is beginning to yield good results. Out of 479 rural police stations in the country, the strategy has been fully implemented in 432 of those. The SAPS is working tirelessly to channel critical resources and roll out the strategy in the remaining 47 police stations.
We have also increased the number of blue-light patrols and compliance inspections in such areas; and continue to work with affected farming communities to ensure that policing safety is a shared responsibility.
We take this opportunity to condemn reckless and thoughtless statements that effectively mislead our people to illegally occupy farmlands. The rule of law must be adhered to even in matters of land redress.
The vision for radical economic transformation also speaks to this categorical imperative. There is value in making land issue a unifier rather than a source of divisions, mistrust and a threat to social cohesion.
The founding provisions of our Constitution assert among others; human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. And further that all citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship.
Apartheid divided our people and allocated the benefits of citizenship in favour of the white population of our land. The architects of that evil system divided black people into subgroups on the basis of culture and language as a ploy to foster disunity and mistrust among them.
Therefore, when the Constitution directs us to ensure equality, and equal enjoyment of rights and privileges, it is also expected of us to look into how we frame the challenges of our time. For if we are not careful, we may find ourselves perpetuating a sense of exclusion and separation, when we should be promoting inclusion and national unity.
The apartheid inheritance of underdeveloped and underserviced rural areas continues to haunt us today. It therefore does not help to single out one particular category of our rural constituency, farmers and discuss their safety and security challenges, when such challenges actually relate to the broader rural constituency as a whole.
Rural vulnerabilities which arise as a result in particular, of the lack of police and other infrastructure, such as roads, as well as the vastness of the landscapes of mission areas, are features that characterise our rural context generally. And therefore what we should be highlighting are challenges and solutions that seek to resolve these difficulties, confronting all our people who live and or work in these areas.
We all love our farmers. But our love for the farmers must not be parochial. This love must teach us to love and care for all our people in rural areas. It must develop into a universal love for all humanity regardless of race, gender, sex or social status. Love that place the poor at the apex of our priorities, for they are, by far the most vulnerable. The sooner we overcome the socially disadvantaged condition of the poor, the better shall be our prospects of winning the war against crime.
The Constitution allows us to develop beyond our narrow confines, to learn to love, protect and defend all South Africans and all human life.
To understand and better respond to crime in rural settings, we must focus on the totality of the context through which crime finds expression. And not on narrow interests that, actually, define the origins of our social consciousness. We must seek a good life for all; not systematically for some. A just approach shall assure us all, of a stable future.
Chairperson, the late South African Judge Didcott, assets exactly this particular point when he correctly warned in 1988 and I quote:
What a Bill of Rights cannot afford to here... is to protect private property with such zeal that it entrenches privilege. A major problem which any future South African government is bound to face will be the problem of poverty, of its alleviation and of the need for the country’s wealth to be shared more equitably...
I thank you very much Chair and ladies and gentlemen. [Applause.]
Source: Unrevised transcript, Hansard 22 March 2017