Declare farm killings a priority crime - AfriForumComment on this story
Pretoria - Afriforum has appealed to the minister of police to declare farm killings a priority crime and for precise figures for such killings to be released each year with the crime statistics.
On Saturday, members and supporters of the organisation marched from Church Square to the office of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to deliver a memorandum aimed at showing the reality of farm murders.
The march went ahead after AfriForum approached the high court when permission for the march was denied by the authorities. The court found AfriForum had met the statutory requirements.
Among the marchers were musicians Steve Hofmeyr, Chris Chameleon, and Adam, and members of 10 families who had lost loved ones in farm murders. Relatives included those of Attie, Wilna and little Willemien Potgieter who were murdered on their Free State farm on December 1, 2010.
The families held up placards and photographs of their murdered relatives and chanted “Enough is enough”.
Deputy AfriForum chief executive Ernst Roets said the incidence of farm murders was not only a crisis, but a catastrophe.
“Farmers live in unique circumstances in remote areas where the police’s reaction time is slow. They are killed in large numbers and even tortured. Despite this, the government and the Department of Police refuse to even acknowledge that there is a crisis, never mind formulating a focused counter-strategy.”
Roets said he did not think farmers were special and should be given preferential treatment, but he believed there should be a unit in the police that dealt specifically with farm cases.
“Farmers are being targeted. There must be a unique strategy to protect farmers. Farming is not supposed to be a high-risk job.”
Roets said it had been decided to hold the march on December 1 as it was the second anniversary of the murders of the Potgieters.
“We do not only want to send a message to the government that we demand action from it, but also to the victims. We will ensure they do not become mere statistics, but are remembered and supported.”
Amanda Kruger, whose husband was killed on October 29, 2009 in Magaliesmoot, said the government and police had to step up security measures.
“We are living in prisons. After the murder, I had to put up more security doors. We must have a peaceful existence,” said Kruger. The government should find a way to remove illegal firearms, she said.
Chris Pistorius, whose father was killed in June last year in Muldersdrift, said the attack not only robbed them of a father but left his children psychologically scarred.
“It took my daughter a long time to recover after the attack, but you never get it right mentally.”
There was no one from the minister’s office to accept the memorandum. Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said AfriForum had been told they had prior engagements.