Cele protecting Ace’s mining thieves – AfriForum

Fact that a farmer was arrested after he confronted alleged perpetrators on his farm unacceptable

Cele is protecting Ace’s mining thieves

17 August 2023

The civil rights organisation AfriForum strongly condemns the recent actions by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Free State. This follows after a farmer near Hennenman, was arrested last week after he confronted unknown men who were engaged in illegal mining activities on his farm. The men are employees of the mining company Alberto Road Markings and Civils, which is extracting gravel on his farm without permission and is said to have links with the controversial former Free State Premier, Ace Magashule.

The farmer took the alleged perpetrators’ vehicle keys and cell phones while he waited for the police to arrive. However, the police did not pay attention to the issue about the illegal mining activities but instead arrested the farmer on a charge of theft.

“The fact that the farmer was arrested after he confronted the alleged perpetrators on his farm is extremely unacceptable. It is particularly disturbing that the farmer, despite the fact that he was able to prove that he is the owner of the land and was able to provide evidence of the illegal activities, was still arrested on his own farm,” says Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum's spokesperson for Community safety.

The alleged links between the company and Magashule – as well as the fact that Magashule’s company, Sedtrade, received a large part of the provincial road contracts during his tenure – casts a shadow over the whole matter.

“The actions of these police members make it clear that Minister Cele has transformed parts of the SAPS into political security officers, who protect corrupt politicians like Magashule and their partners,” concludes Broodryk.

As with the illegal strikes in the Western Cape, Police Minister Bheki Cele once again turned his back on victims of crime and instead protected political friends.

AfriForum stands firmly behind this farmer and all farmers who find themselves in similar situations. The organisation believes in a fair and impartial legal system that treats all citizens equally. AfriForum will keep a close eye on the matter and intervene if it appears that there is political interference in this matter.

Issued by Jacques Broodryk, Spokesperson: Community Safety, AfriForum, 17 August 2023