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Make farm murders a priority: Afriforum

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Afriforum Chief executive Kallie Kriel. Photo: Antoine de Ras

The public should join a campaign to push the government to declare farm murders a priority crime, civil rights body AfriForum said on Wednesday.

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said it had submitted a memorandum to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa asking for a special rural safety unit to be set up.

Farmer Johan van Rensburg, 77, was shot dead on his farm in Tolwe, in Limpopo's Baltimore area, on Wednesday. His wife Claudia was wounded, and was being treated at a local hospital. Their attackers were still being sought.

Roets said AfriForum was consulting various experts on how farm attacks could be curbed. The information gathered would be shared with the public in gatherings to be held across the country in July.

He bemoaned remarks by acting African National Congress Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola at a lecture in Durban on Tuesday.

Lamola said youth unemployment could not be dealt with unless land was expropriated.

“We need an act as forceful as war to bring it back to the Africans,” he said.

Roets said: “Lamola has blood on his hands. For as long as the ANC watches on while farmers are being killed and hate speech is rampant in its ranks, the ANC, too, has blood on its hands.”

He said AfriForum was awaiting feedback on charges of intimidation it filed against Lamola for a statement he made at a news conference in Centurion on June 5. At the event, Lamola called for the Constitution to be changed to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.

Agricultural union TAU-SA said Lamola was creating the ideal atmosphere for radical and reckless youth to take his statements literally.

“Farmers can no longer ignore those comments, and for the sake of their survival and to keep their land, they need to prepare and organise for the worst possible scenario,” TAU-SA's deputy president Henry Geldenhuys said.

The Christian Democratic Party condemned the farm murder as “outrageous”.

“We appeal to government to strongly react to wild... attacks on farmers,” party leader Rev Theunis Botha said. -

Sapa


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