South African (Farm) Murder Debate: Time to Create a Country “Free From Fear”

The topic of murder was debated in South African Parliament on Tuesday. According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa has a “shocking murder rate” with 18,673 murders recorded during 2015/16… which averages out to about 51.2 murders per day.

“We have become so accustomed to this that we don’t even blink an eye anymore when someone is murdered,” said DA’s Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Anette Steyn MP… who described herself as a “plaasmeisie (farm girl).

She described the feeling of fear waking up at night, hearing strange noises, and worrying that someone she loves will be murdered on a farm.

She said: “Chairperson, 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. This year alone we have seen more than 70 attacks resulting in at least 20 murders.”

She described some of the horrific details of recent murders, including that of Sue Howarth which made international headlines, and an attack this weekend on 62-year-old Nicci Simpson who 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.”

Steyn asked: “How is it possible that even one person could get burned with hot water, an iron, dripping plastic, a blow torch, slaughtered like an animal and no-one 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?”

She said farm workers were also the victims of horrific crimes

“Crime and violence is affecting and is dehumanising all people in farming and rural communities, irrespective of their race.

“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…

“We cannot allow this to spiral into racial hatred and for us to divide our people along racial lines. We have to stand up and condemn all murders. It cannot be allowed that a person is tortured 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”.”

The ‘monkey’ remark refers to the incident in Limpopo last week when a white farmer shot a worker in the head who was riding a bicycle, and claimed he mistook the worker for a monkey.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) referred to the incident and said there had been no mention of it by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) MP. The EFF said white men make up 1.8% of victims murdered… and that “it is Black people who endure the worst conditions of crime and murder”.

The EFF pointed out that on average, 9 people are killed in the Cape Flats every day but that groups like the FF+ only wants to highlight the murder of a “few whites”.

The DA’s Steyn said it was time to take “collective responsibility for our divided country by ensuring that all our citizens feel safe and secure.”

DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zekhele Mbhele MP, outlined several proposed strategies to improve the safety and security of rural communities and reduce farm attacks, saying their implementation would help “more and more citizens to realise the dream of a country free from fear”.

Steyn said farm attacks should be classified as ‘priority crime’ with a separate category that should include farmers, farmworkers and farm dwellers.

She said: “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.”

Watch Annette Steyn – Farm Murder Debate 2017

Watch EFF respond to Freedom Front Plus during Farm Murders Debate in South African parliament, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Garsfontein Murders

In other violent crime news, Twitter has been buzzing this morning with news of an armed robbery late last night by two men in a Garsfontein home in Pretoria. The men allegedly tied up and stabbed the five people. Two women, believed to have been sisters, died. The other three are in hospital. It is believed that one of the victims – a man who is in a serious condition – is, or is related to, a chief director at South Africa’s Department of Tourism. The attackers made off with a television and a vehicle, the latter of which has since been recovered in Yeoville. No arrests have yet been made.