The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today, Monday 27 July, launched two #StopFarmAttacks websites – one in Afrikaans and the other in English – and called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to retract his comment denying farm murders.
The website contains an open letter to the South African President urging him to apologize for his “untrue and hurtful remarks”, made in a 2018 interview in the USA when President Ramaphosa denied that farm murders were taking place in South Africa. The letter also calls on him to take urgent action regarding the “perpetual fear and danger our rural men and women live and work in as they grow the very food we eat”.
At the time of the President’s denial there had been 54 farmers and farm-workers murdered in SA that year, and a further 394 attacks, often vicious.
Kohler Barnard says in a video address to Ramaphosa (see bottom of page): “When the children of farm workers are being shot in their beds, when a woman has her throat slit in front of her screaming children, when a man is hacked to death with a panga, we have to say that the comments you made were false. We would ask that you retract that statement, and you retract it today.”
WATCH President Ramaphosa’s 2018 interview in which he denied farm murders in SA:
"There’s no land grab in South Africa."
President Cyril Ramaphosa says Trump's tweet about the country's land reform was misinformed pic.twitter.com/PBniYJQcQZ
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 27, 2018
The DA is encouraging all South Africans to visit these websites and sign an open letter to President Ramaphosa, calling on him to address the plight of these “brave men and women” who are living in “utter terror”. The signatures will be submitted to Parliament and action will be demanded from the ANC government, said Dianne Kohler Barnard, Chairperson of the DA Rural Safety Workstream, in a statement on Monday.
“It cannot be that the Government and Parliament continue to turn a blind eye to the plight of farmers, farmworkers, their parents, wives, and children who suffer cruel, senseless and often deadly torture at the hands of criminals,” said Kohler Barnard.
“Recently an 80-year old woman was attacked on her farm in Zastron and left for dead across the border in Lesotho. She had to listen as her attackers made plans to kill her. One of her attackers was allegedly one of the 19,000 prisoners released in Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola’s bid to stop the spread of Covid-19 in prisons.”
She said the farm attacks are a symptom of a “sick government” that’s replaced the mandate of service with “corruption, greed and hunger for power”.
“Had the Government honoured the original restitution promises, invested in the economy and infrastructure, and built on the good work done in the years after the first democratic election in 1994, South Africa would have been a very different place today. There would have been less inequality and fewer citizens would walk the streets without a job or hope. If all the money looted by the ANC had instead been invested in the country, South Africa might well have been today very close to the utopia everyone envisaged in 1994,” she said.
In 2019, there were 419 attacks and 56 murders. Those murders are still less than the average 58 people in SA who are murdered per day. However, Kohler Barnard says that “it is four times more dangerous to be on a farm than in other area of South Africa.”