Farm murders: DA to refer hate speech social media to SAHRC - DKB

MP says these posts seemingly glorify farm murders and attacks

DA to refer hate speech social media posts glorifying farm murders to SAHRC for investigation

7 July 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will refer a number of social media posts, which seemingly glorify farm murders and attacks, to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate them for hate speech.

A fortnight ago, the DA undertook, as part of our 16 action steps in terms of our Rural Security Strategy, to report what we believe to be hate speech, or hate crimes, to relevant authorities for investigation. This includes the reporting and charging of those on social media, or any other platform, who glorify the torture and murder that has become the hallmark of rural attacks.

The DA has identified the following recent heinous posts on social media which glorify and encourage the attacks on farmers:

Screenshots can be accessed hereherehereherehere and here

The DA views these posts as abhorrent and those who post them must be held to account for their vitriolic and hateful utterances.

Hate crimes are defined based on two factors: 1) the act is considered a crime under existing South African criminal law, and 2) the act is motivated in whole or in part by prejudice or hatred regarding an aspect of the victims’ identity. Hate crimes are not simply crimes committed against vulnerable groups, they are in fact crimes committed against individuals because of prejudice that the perpetrator holds against an entire group of people, but directed at an available victim.

Research indicates that there is a direct correlation between hate speech – frequently spoken or sung by political leaders – and an immediate increase in rural attacks, which are frequently accompanied by the most terrible torture. Indeed, there is a marked increase in these instances during which the men, women or children of all races are attacked, immediately after such utterances are publicised.

In 2001 the ANC ordered a committee of inquiry into farm attacks, and the conclusion was that the attacks were overwhelmingly robberies, with virtually no political motive or racial hatred shown. It seems either that the outcome of the inquiry was itself a political statement, or that a new inquiry is needed as a matter of urgency. This is because today there are frequent reports that after the most terrible torture, the perpetrators simply leave and take nothing.

It is unbelievable that those who glory in the idea of the rape and murder of the wives and children of farmers and farmworkers are seldom taken to court. This foulness has at times been romanticised and encouraged by politicians, and those who follow have faced no consequences. The DA will ensure that they do. For the police to record ‘theft of a wallet’ after a farmer has been tortured for hours, must stop. This is not a robbery – it is a hate crime.

Scapegoating farmers for the ANC’s failures in job creation, education, housing and in addressing hunger, is a convenient political tool which is costing lives. Farmers, farmworkers and their loved ones are responsible for feeding our nation and ensuring food security. The senseless murder and torture of these communities need to stop and those who glorify these acts must be held to account.

Issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Shadow Minister of State Security, 7 July 2020