Cape Town - Hundreds of farmers and farmworkers marched to Parliament on Sunday demanding action from the government to stop the escalating farm attacks and murders.
Bakkies, bikers and tractors made a procession with protesters carrying white crosses in honour of those who lost their lives through farm attacks. The protest later travelled to a farm in Paarl where a monument was erected in remembrance of the victims.
The national co-ordinator of Black Monday South Africa, Valerie Byliefeld, said that the farmers who had been murdered were not just statistics.
“The message we want to carry out is that without farmers there would not be food on our tables. In these types of attacks it’s not only the farmers that get attacked but also the farmworkers. Our farm employees play an important role when it comes to production in our country and without their labour there won’t be any food,” she said.
“I myself was involved in four attacks. I want to tell the leaders of this land, if you put your plate of food in front of your nose tonight, realise where that food comes from. Realise that food started from a seed that was planted by our farmers and that seed received water and grew into a plant to put food on your table. I want the leaders in SA to know we are going through a difficult time,” she said.
Debbie Els from the Stop Farm Murders/Attacks Movement said farmers were soft targets because of their remoteness and lack of protection from the state. Els said that farms should be declared a national key point and be protected.
Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said that as chairperson of the AU, President Cyril Ramaphosa should realise that farm attacks threatened the political stability and food security on the continent.
“We are here today for the love of agriculture and for the love of farmers in solidarity with our farmers and farmworkers – black and white, their children and their families.
“We are here today because the president and members of parliament deny that farmers and farmworkers are attacked. The president must wake up and smell the blood of farmers and the smoke of fires across South Africa. I have been to the scenes of farm attacks. It's not only the attacks, it's the brutality of these crimes,” said Meyer.