Parties collectively agreed that attacks on rural places needed to stop as they posed a huge risk to the country’s food security. In a debate on the scourge of attacks and murders of farmers and farm workers across the country, the EFF said they questioned the narrative put forward under the guise farm murders.
The EFF’s Constance Mkhonto said in the past, there was a “myth” and “agenda” perpetuated that one life was more important than the other.
The debate on farm murders may be a “scam” by right-wingers to deflect law enforcement attention while the focus was supposed to be on crime as a whole, Mkhonto said.
She said the exclusive focus on crimes on farms alone was debatable as there was a crime problem that affected all people.
“This debate on farm attacks that seeks to project whites as victims, blacks as perpetrators, could not be justified,” she said.
She warned that there were those who ridiculed the Black Lives Matter movement, indicative of the notion that white interests and white lives needed “more” protection.
“Any loss of life is a loss too much. Whatever the case, we must look to a comprehensive approach to fight crime.”
The IFP’s Narend Singh condemned the lawless acts of violence against farmers and said there was a ray of hope. The police Rural Safety Strategy needed to be implemented with adequate resources to ensure a solid positive outlook. Not only were the lives of farm families at risk, but food security too, the party said.
“One murder is one too many.”
The Freedom Front Plus’ Petrus Johannes Groenewald said farm murders were a threat to food security in the country and could not be seen as a normal crime.
“Today, I want to dedicate a speech to living victims of farm murders. those who have survived despite the trauma experienced in a farm murder.”
“It is exactly the women, and exactly the children, who really experience the trauma of farm attacks and farm murders. How can it be different, when a 12-year-old girl is forced to watch how her mother is raped?
“Or when family members are forced to watch how electric drills are used, or hot irons are used to burn the victims. It does not only burn the victim, it burns into the memory of the children. And that’s why I say their should be a focus on, and attention be paid to those victims.
“I want to thank all the people who embark on marches so a consciousness about farm murders can be promoted. We saw it this past weekend.”
The ACDP’s Kenneth Meshoe offered condolences to all families that had fallen victim to attacks and called on government to stop playing lip service and reinforce rural commandos.
Farm attacks should be deemed hate crimes, Meshoe said, following reports that the perpetrators had no desire to steal but harm the owners.
These are demonic, he said, listing the crimes which included an elderly woman who was tortured with an electric drill and a two-year-old hacked with a panga.
“These are hate crimes,” Meshoe said.
The United Democratic Movement’s Nqabayhomzi Kwankwa said rural safety as a whole was problematic. An approach to the issue needed to be a dialogue that led to action.
What happened to the rural safety strategy, and why has it not been adapted, he asked.
Shaun August from GOOD said farm murders needed the attention of everyone.
He said there was no hierarchy of murders as every life lost to violence was “one life too many.” From the Cape flats to all across the country, each life mattered, he stressed.
“Law enforcement agencies must step up,” he concluded.
The DA said Parliament debated a DA-sponsored motion to combat farm murders. The party said their plan would ensure that rural communities are safe.
“If our rural community suffers the whole of the country suffers. We need justice. The fight against attacks on farms has to be a collective effort,” interim leader John Steenhuisen said in a tweet.
The ANC said it cared about the wellbeing of farmworkers and owners. The party said accusations that the government was against protecting or rallying behind the attacks of farmers were not accurate as the government intended on working with communities in curbing crime as a whole.
“The road to creating a united Africa goes through the road for equal treatment for all. All political parties should be united in ensuring that no one is killed. All hands need to be on deck. We all need to rally together to resolve the issue,” it said.
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