The #BlackMonday protest against farm murders. Picture: ANA

Johannesburg – The African National Congress (ANC) condemned as “despicable and racist” the flying of the old South African flag by some of the mostly white participants in the nationwide #BlackMonday campaign to protest the murders of farmers.

"The racial characterisation of crime and the stoking of racial hatred by some elements in the campaign through, amongst others, the arrogant and offensive display of apartheid South Africa's flag, are indicative of an unrelenting yearning for apartheid fascism and white supremacy,” the ANC said in a statement on Tuesday.

Read: #BlackMonday - a case of black and white?

Thousands of farming community members participated in a campaign to wear black to show they have had enough of the scourge of farm murders following a brutal killing of a 47-year-old wine farmer by armed robbers recently in Klapmuts, outside Cape Town.

Dubbed #BlackMonday, the protest gained support from AfriForum, a civil rights group, agricultural unions, and the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and political parties, among others. 

Highways were blocked off across the country as farmers used their lorries, trucks and tractors to force a go-slow for motorists in a bid to have their pleas heard. Placards reading — Stop Farm Murders, Staan op teen plaasmoorder (stand up against farm murders), and crosses bearing the words ‘Rest in Peace’ were carried.  

Also read: #BlackMonday: 'Farmers have 4.5 times more chance of being murdered'

But the presence of the old South African flag, a symbol of Apartheid and the violence inflicted on the black majority, inflamed anti-racism sentiment among both white and black South Africans.

"The myopic call for the protection of farmers, referring in particular to white farm owners, points to an ill-conceived sense of special entitlement, gives a biased racial character to crime, brutality and violence which affects all South Africans and ignores and undermines the deaths of farm workers and other persons on farms," the ANC said.

The ANC called on the farming community to appreciate the importance of all lives, not just white lives, adding that the democratic government remained committed to dealing decisively with the scourge of crime that many of people live under.