NEWS & ANALYSIS

Why we're targeting white farmers - ANC

Transcript of Radio Freedom broadcast on MK's landmine campaign, October 24 1986

Transcript of ANC Radio Freedom broadcast, Addis Ababa, October 24 1986

Compatriots: For some time now, areas around the northern borders of our country have experienced a spate of landmine explosions in which quite a number of racist farmers have either been killed or seriously injured.

The inability of the regime to provide enough protection for its arch-supporters in these areas has been clearly exposed in the process. Instructions and precautionary measures that the enemy has introduced fall far short of providing any protection.

The vanguard liberation movement of our people, the ANC, has long declared these areas war zones. This is because the farmers in these areas have been fully integrated in the enemy's so-called security and defence network.

White men, women and youths are part and parcel of the military and paramilitary units (of the SADF). They are part of the local police force. They participate enthusiastically in Malan's so-called area defence system. They are the people who are planted there by the regime to assist the murderous racist army (containing) what they call insurgency. They work tirelessly to detect any movement by fugitives of the freedom [using] sophisticated communication equipment especially meant for this secret work. Clearly, the enemy has also long ago regarded these areas as war zones.

At the same time, these racist farmers are notorious for their brutal oppression and exploitation of African labour. Our people employed by these farmers go to the fields under the shadow of the whip and the gun. They work under slave conditions for slave wages.

In these areas, our people are forced to work between 10 and 12 hours a day with very little or no break at all. They work 52 weeks a year and take 16 days off. Child labour is rife. Our young ones are picked up in open lorries and transported daily to the fields or they are taken out of school so that the labour needs of these racist farmers can be met at the least cost to them.

To these brutal oppressors, the future and education of our children is far less important than the profits they reap from our expertise. These children and women, so-called casual workers, are repaid in tomatoes, cabbages, or as little as 80 cents or one rand each.

This white farmer community is (?of) exploiters with a slave-owner mentality. They treat their chickens and cows, their tractors and trucks with greater respect than they treat black farm workers.

And, of course, they monopolise the land claiming it as their own. They naively believe that they, as whites and as farm owners, have exclusive rights to all our fertile land. On the farms and within their racist community, they feel the idea that black people are there only with the permission of the white farmers is held up as a God-made law.

Black farm workers know from their bitter experience that the Boers impose their presence and their rule with cold-blooded brutality. They do not think twice before beating a farm worker to death. They see nothing wrong in taking our children on nightmare joyrides or sexually assaulting black women farm workers: And this is all in the name of white civilisation, white power, super profits and free enterprise.

While these racist farm owners live in comfort [word indistinct], their black farm workers the real producers of the wealth, the very people who made that comfor table life possible are living in poverty and misery. Hunger and malnutrition are the order of the day. Family life is disrupted. That is why we need to change all this.

Let farm workers understand and accept that such a situation cannot be allowed to continue like that any longer. That is why they have also joined their township compatriots in confronting the racist regime. In areas like Leabua, bantustan farm owners know now that they cannot expect to get any co-operation from their employees. They are beginning to feel the pinch of our offensive.

Because of the [word indistinct] (?position) to fight by our people in these areas and because of the active involvement of racist farm owners in the defence of the apartheid system, we have declared these areas war zones. That is because we understand the need to crack this false sense of property, power and pride which the white community [word indistinct].

That is why the people's army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, continues to escalate its activities in these areas. That is why landmines are becoming the way of life. We are intent on escalating armed action in support of the [word indistinct] and many grievances of farm workers and indeed of all the black working people.

Therefore, the mining of roads which are used by racist farm owners and the murderous (?farmers) is part of this action. These mines are aimed at the paramilitary and military forces of the enemy, all those who defend the so-called white countryside.

Black farm workers know that they are not the targets of Umkhonto. They are part of the oppressed majority who are struggling as working people to establish justice in the country of their birth. To ensure that they and their children will know a life of peace, security and comfort in a unitary non-racial South Africa.

Black farmers must always remember that the future is in their hands. They are and can become part of Umkhonto, because it is their army, the army of the people. That is why when by accident farm workers are injured or killed by mines, they know that they are not the target. That is why we say: Farm workers take care.

Because of the growing intensity of our armed offensive in these farming areas, farm owners are now placing some of their workers in managerial positions to do their dirty work whilst they ran away from these war zones to seek refuge in the urban areas and only to come occasionally to collect profits.

Farm workers must take (?a hard course) at work. Farm workers must also be careful not to drive on or walk along a route that they know are [as heard] used by farmers and (?SADF). They must refuse to be used as sweepers by the Boers, who send them out in tractors to see if the way is clear.

They want to use you as a shield to protect them from Umkhonto actions, because they know they are the targets. Therefore, you must demand that they ensure that the roads and fields are safe for you to work on. The white farmer must go out and check that all is safe. This [word indistinct] is your basic right as a worker. And if he refuses to do this, then, you must refuse to work.

It is your lives that the Boers are putting at risk. Of course, you must also not agree to be used by farmers as their informers. As a worker, you are told to do the work you are paid for. You owe the Boers nothing. In fact it is they that owe you everything because they have grown fat and wealthy on your poverty and labour.

Sabotage his farming operations. Destroy his crops. Sabotage his implements and machinery. Daring actions of Umkhonto we Sizwe are not the only way of confronting the enemy. Sabotage operations are part of the people's war. And actions of the people are: Do not allow the Boers to arm you against the people. Take the guns and communication equipment [word indistinct] and everything you can lay your hands on and turn them on the exploitative farmers.

These are the actions we have to take to end this state of tyranny which occupies our land. Let us all unite and fight for a new South Africa where the land shall not be the property of white farmers only but shall be shared among all those who [word indistinct]. Let us fight to abolish the hated (?plot) system and child labour once and for all. The whole of South Africa is ours. So, let us fight for our rights to own land wherever we want. We must fight for a system where people shall not be robbed of their cattle, where forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished. This fight has begun.

 The landmines that are harassing farmers (?and) [word indistinct] are part of it. Therefore, farm workers, take care, and [do] not be victims of mines which are aimed against our oppressors. Let us make the countryside safe for us and a hell for the enemy. Forward to the people's war.

Source: BBC Monitoring, October 28 1986

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