The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Sunday came out strongly against farm attacks and related vigilantism.
Sanco condemned the shooting of a 26-year-old Free State farm manager as well as the stabbing of a farm worker, and equally slammed the severe assault of the two suspected attackers, one of whom died in hospital after he was allegedly assaulted by farmers from neighbouring farms, Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlango said.
“While we have consistently condemned farm attacks and called for adequate deployment of resources to bolster implementation of the rural safety plan, we are equally concerned about what appears to be vigilantism, as it undermines the rule of law,” he said.
Mahlangu wished farm manager Aarend Covert, who was shot in the head, and farm worker Lenyara Tsotetsi, who was wounded while trying to defend himself, a speedy recovery.
The partnership of all role-players in farming communities was critical for the successful implementation of the plan aimed at combating and preventing farm attacks.
“Farm attacks must not be politicised or given the slant of racism, because as we have seen in the case of the attack on Covert and Tsotetsi they affect everyone and not a particular section of the community. Those defining them as racially motivated are opportunists who are looking at everything through the prism of race informed by the bitterness of lost power and privilege,” he said.
Displaying apartheid symbols, such as the old South African flag, and burning the new flag during marches by so-called right-wing groups, undermined national unity, reconciliation, and social cohesion.
“It is pre-emptive and a stumbling block to meaningful engagements to find urgent solutions to the crime situation facing the country, which point to the urgent need to review the national crime prevention strategy (NCPS),” Mahlangu said.