DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.
Michael Hammond, Gallo Images
- DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard says criminals have it easy to attack farmers and farm workers as they are isolated from major towns.
- Kohler-Barnard led a debate on the recent spate of farm attacks in the National Assembly.
- On Monday, Deputy President David Mabuza condemned violent attacks on farmers and people in rural farming communities.
The isolation of rural and farming communities gives criminals days and nights to torture families to death.
This according to DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard who led a debate on farm attacks in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
She said farm attacks have reached dangerous levels as the men and women who fed South Africa did not sleep.
“They do nightly patrols around their farms, and I know of wives who watch their husbands on cameras as they do their patrols in the dark.
“Watching for attackers, waiting to see if tonight is the night their beloved husband will be killed. Unless they farm in Lekwa, Mpumalanga, where the electricity is cut week after a week so the farmers live in total terrifying darkness as animals die of cold and everything rots in their fridges.
“They live the reality that it is four times more dangerous to be on a farm than in any other area of South Africa.”
Kohler-Barnard added farmers and farm workers felt they have become persona non grata.
“The Police Rural Safety Plan is pulled out, reworked, and relaunched regularly. Rinse, whitewash, repeat. Without equipment and manpower, the rural stations have zero ability to lift those fine-sounding words off the page.
“Today, countries around the world are eyeing our farmers with an acquisitive gleam in their eye – 2 000 of them left to farm in the USA over the past three months; our farmers have turned Zambia into one of the top food exporters on the continent – and where are we,” she said.
This week, Deputy President David Mabuza condemned violent attacks on farmers and people in rural farming communities.
He stressed the importance of the agricultural sector to the country’s economy and called on all South Africans to value farmers and farm workers, and to be relentless in pursuit of a better country.
ANC MP Zwelivelile Mandela said all stakeholders needed to come together to make communities safer.
“Rural farmers, farm workers and farming communities are especially vulnerable as they are isolated and far from essential services. We must consider strategies to bring this scourge to an end. It’s an exercise we need to embrace collectively or face the horrid consequences,” he added.
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EFF MP Constance Mkhonto said the debate on farm attacks was done in a manner that sought to project whites as victims and blacks as perpetrators.
“The DA will not put it as crudely, but this is their strategy … they ridiculed the Black Lives Matter movement and argued that we should rather focus on farm attacks. That tells you that the only lives that matter in their thinking are white people’s lives,” she added.
IFP MP Narend Singh said not a week went by without an attack on farmers being reported.
“These murders of both black and white shook the nation and brought us the very debate. But where is the justice for these families? Have arrests been made? This debate seeks to address the recent scourge of farm murders, yet this is not a new crime. The time for talk shops is long past,” he added.