'11 people killed on farms in the first 14 days of February'
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Johannesburg – The South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union (Saptu) – an affiliate of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) in the agricultural sector – has called on government to act decisively to stop ruthless farm murders.
"Saptu has noted with great concern that 11 people were killed on farms in the first 14 days of February this year alone, averaging one murder a day," the federation said in a statement on Saturday.
Fedusa believed it was high time the state looked deeper into the real causes of farm killings rather than just treating it as common crime or a way of dealing with the thorny land reform issue.
“Our agricultural community is a strategically important component that ensures stability by being putting food on everyone's table,” Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said.
“We strongly feel that regardless of our differences, the ongoing attacks on farmers will not help bring any solution. We need to escalate this problem and engage our government and encourage all citizens to unite and strongly condemn these killings,” George said.
This sentiment was echoed by Saptu’s leadership: “It is Saptu's submission that the safety situation on farms has now become a national priority and that all role-players, including government, must now act to avoid an extremely explosive situation and to stop the infringement of the right of life of farmers,” Saptu general secretary Ben van der Walt said.