Afrikaner rights group AfriForum’s farming wing, the Southern African Agriculture Initiative (SAAI), is expected to take farm murder issues to the United Nations (UN) next week at the launch of the body’s Decade of Family Farming in Rome.
This follows another series of reports on farm attacks over the past week, including the gruesome murder of Limpopo farm attack activist Annette Kennealy on her property. The lobby group yesterday decried the news of several more violent farm intrusions and murders this month.
“The Boland is suffering from a series of farm attacks and we call on the community to increase their preparedness,” said Johandre van Zyl, AfriForum’s regional head for community safety in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape.
“We suspect that the same group that was responsible for the attacks in the Paarl and Wellington areas towards the end of 2018 are active again. The suspects usually operate in groups of four and launch their attacks just after sunset until about 9.30pm.”
According to Van Zyl, farm attacks in the Western Cape in the past couple of months have again brought the problem to the fore. Farmer Tool Wessels was brutally murdered while his wife was seriously injured during a recent attack in Bonnievale.
“Following a Stellenbosch farm attack, a member of the Saps was fatally wounded while pursuing the suspects. In April this year, 72-year old Dolla Engelbrecht was raped during a farm attack in Redelinghuys,” said Van Zyl.
Francois Rossouw, chief executive of SAAI, said the group intended highlighting challenges facing farmers in South Africa, emphasising the importance of the UN event.
“The world is realising that family farmers are going to play an integral part in solving our most threatening problems. For this reason, this resolution for the Decade of Family Farming was adopted unanimously by the UN in October 2017 and it is now being implemented worldwide to give farmers the necessary support,” said Rossouw.
AfriForum and groups affiliated to it were criticised last year for using the issue of farm murders to spread misinformation about what people were calling “white genocide” in South Africa.
“It is extremely important for us that the challenges experienced by farmers in South Africa should be put on the international agenda at this forum. “Farmers not only ensure food security and economic stability in our own country, but also are the lever for unlocking wealth for the rest of Africa through their expertise and ability,” Rossouw said.