hartswater farm murders
Hundreds attended the protest in Hartswater. Photo supplied.

Hundreds of community members turned up today outside the magistrate’s court in Hartswater in the Northern Cape of South Africa, where five suspects appeared for the murders of Breggie (73) and Danie Brand (83) and their daughter Elzabie (54) which has shocked the nation.

hartswater farm murders protest outside court today
Photo supplied

The peaceful protesters from Hartswater and surrounding communities carried posters condemning these and farm murders in general.

According to Johan Kruger, AfriForum’s Head of Community Development, there was a sense of unity and solidarity among community members. He and Lize-Mari Smit, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Karoo, attended the court proceedings.

The local AfriForum branch were part of the team (with SA Police and the local farming community) that helped track down the five suspects – being the first to spot the stolen car in which the suspects were fleeing. AfriForum’s Trauma Support Unit also arranged counselling for the family and neighbours of the victims.

Kruger said in a statement Thursday: “The community united today to stand together. People have had enough – they want President Cyril Ramaphosa here. He must look the community squarely in the eye and explain why farm attacks and murders are still considered ordinary crimes. Communities are tired of feeling unsafe, saying loud and clear that enough is now enough.”

AfriForum launched an intensified campaign against farm murders on 8 July after the recent months saw an upsurge in farm attacks. This year has so far witnessed 186 farm attacks and 29 farm murders. In July alone, 39 attacks occurred, in which nine people were murdered. Many more people who are not on farms are murdered in just one day in SA – an average of 58, but according to the DA statistics show that it is four times more dangerous to live on a farm in South Africa than anywhere else in the country.

Both the DA and AfriForum have written open letters to President Ramaphosa.

Ernst Roets, Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, says that AfriForum is not asking for special treatment for farm attacks, but for equal treatment. “The South African government has no qualm about developing focused counter-strategies to curb a number of unique crimes. including violence against women and children, gang-related violence, copper cable theft, cash-in-transit heists and rhino poaching, to name a few. It is only in the case of farm murders that we are suddenly confronted with Cabinet members who – at worst – justify these crimes, or – at best – downplay the existence of the crisis.”

Farmers and farmworkers are taking over the town of Hartswater to protest against the murders of 3 farmers there.

Posted by Johann Abrie on Thursday, July 30, 2020