International Bulletin, Oct 2014
THEY WAIT AT THE GATE
The penny appears to have finally dropped in South Africa with regard to the shameful legacy of farm murders. Books are appearing with regularity, human rights and other groups are calling for hearings and submissions and a film is now being made, due for release next year.
Farm attacks have been with us for years. In a recent submission to a national hearing of the SA Human Rights Commission , TAU SA’s Chris van Zyl, a former SADF Major General, states that violent crimes against farm dwellers is a relatively recent phenomenon. “Prior to 1986, very little recorded evidence of noteworthy occurrences of violent crimes on farms and agricultural holdings existed.”
Historically, farm attacks coincided with the ANC’s liberation struggle and its penetration into the heart and soul of South Africa, aided by foreign organisations, governments and the United Nations. The South African revolution followed the same pattern as the so-called liberation wars throughout Southern Africa – hallmarked by violence, intimidation and terror, particularly against the rural communities, both black and white. This didn’t end with the transfer of power. Anti-white farm terror continued in Zimbabwe until there were only a few farmers left, while farmers in Mozambique and Angola simply fled back to Portugal. (These countries are now basket cases and have to import food.)
Flying the ersatz flag of democracy, the African National Congress and its communist allies ensured that power would be attained at the barrel of a gun and with the matches of the necklace. This bogus democracy is now controlled from ANC’s headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. Parliament is but a shallow show. Once power was transferred, however, the violence didn’t stop. Indeed, after the release of Nelson Mandela in early 1990, unrest and killings, especially of policemen and their families, rocketed.
In line with the ANC’s liberation modus operandi, farm attacks in South Africa have been hallmarked by brutality and savagery. TAU SA has highlighted this peculiarity many times. “They wait at the gate” is symptomatic of why these attacks are far more than just collateral behavior to a robbery. ‘the miscreants wait for the farmer to come home! On many occasions it appears the robbery is of secondary importance – attacking the farmer with venom and vengeance indicates a deep, visceral racial hatred. Farmers and particularly Afrikaans farmers have always been a target. They were seen as part of the defence apparatus of South Africa: the ANC’s Radio Freedom declared this fact in the mid eighties.
Political commentator James Myburgh said in 2011 that “farmers are not simply being targeted for their involvement in SADF structures but for racial and ideological reasons as well”. On occasion, those under attack have reported that their attackers have shouted at them in racial terms such as “white bitch” and “white pig” and ”we’re running the country now and there’s nothing you can do about it”.
Farm attack figures are readily available for South Africa to scrutinise. According to TAU SA’s statistics, a total of 1734 farm murders and 3341 attacks occurred from January 1990 to 15 September 2014. (It is significant that Nelson Mandela was released in January 1990).
According to Dr. Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies, the national murder average is 31.1 murders per 100 000 people, while the farm average is 132,8 per 100 000.
TAU SA believes farm attacks could be a strategy to drive farmers off their land. (During the World Cup in 2010, not one farm murder occurred.) Other crimes committed on farms are poorly reported and are even less acted upon, but they cause serious disruption and trauma: arson, malicious damage to property, trespassing and illegal hunting are common. Stock theft is endemic.
This terror strategy certainly worked in Zimbabwe. It was government’s aim to use violence to drive farmers off their land.
Despite numerous meetings, indabas, the formation of new organisations and Five Point Plan programmes to tackle farm violence, not much has improved. Indeed, the State President Jacob Zuma has publicly declared that his followers should take up machine guns. He even called on his cabinet to do so! Farmers thus cannot expect much help from the state. Recently a rap group called Dookoom reportedly created a song containing words such as ”brand die plaas and f… die baas!”. (Burn the farm and to hell with the boss!) Legal action against the group has been threatened by certain organisations including TAU SA but the words are out there! CD’s and a video are being sold! One of the songs is “Shoot the Boer”. A British-born man is purportedly leader of this group and he declares that farmers handle their workers “worse than animals”. The group admits setting fire to “certain farms” and says its songs and videos “make a point against social injustice”. If you are offended by the video, says the group, “then that is your problem”.
So much for respect (and fear) of the law in South Africa! Why doesn’t the government object? Frankly it couldn’t care less, despite its meetings with farmer groups where talk of “taking hands into the future” is bandied about.
The problem is that whites react to this sort of racial hatred and incitement with court action, while the inciters couldn’t care less about the courts. They are provocative yet are not taken to task by anyone. Where in the world are farmers so despised and insulted as here in South Africa? Where in the world is such an important group given such short shrift? How important is this sector to South Africa’s survival?
Government estimates suggest that three quarters of restituted farmland is unproductive, despite state expenditure of R70 bn since 1995. More than 400 000 farm labourer jobs have been lost. (This three quarter figure is disputed. The government has yet to produce one transferred farm which pays tax on a profit where the farm has not been ”managed” or “mentored” or helped by someone other than the recipients.)
At the same time, the number of commercial farmers has dropped from 120 000 in 1994 to a current figure of 36 000.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has 664 vacancies. Minister Senzeni Zokwana told parliament recently that 204 posts are at top and senior management level. One position has remained vacant for more than seven years, and 63 senior positions have been vacant for more than two years. Director general, deputy director general and chief engineer posts are among those that are unfilled. This is the result of the government’s employment equity policy. Posts are advertised and are not applied for by whites. They remain unfilled. Racial resentment trumps getting the job done and the country’s food security. (Such madness only seems apparent in South Africa!)
Instead of making the ministry functional so that commercial and emerging farming sectors can get on with the job of producing food, Gugile Nkwinti, minister of agricultural development and land reform tells farmers that the population is growing so they- the productive farmers - must hand over up to 50% of their farms to their workers! This is absolute insanity and it is surprising that any farmers attend meetings to talk to this minister! Why go anywhere to discuss plan your own suicide?
SA’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa told a “social cohesion” summit in Gauteng recently that Gauteng had the largest number of immigrants (meaning illegal aliens) and that the province should lead the country into “combating xenophobia”! This is the attitude of the country’s second in charge! Let the aliens in, don’t object to them and the future will look after itself!
South Africa has the highest per capita soil loss in the world, losing an estimated 400 million tons of soil each year, according to the non-profit African Conservative Trust (ACT). (Business Day 23 September 2014). “A lack of water and soil erosion, deforestation and desertification are causal factors for food insecurity and poverty, resulting in low-income urbanization. Coupled with climate change and the destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity in SA, this is a recipe for disaster for millions of people living in poverty” says ACT. “Poor agricultural practices have resulted in extreme losses of top soil and the creation of huge dongas, while vast tracts of forests are being felled for firewood”.
Any normal observer must think the government’s policies towards the only people who can provide food for 53 million South Africans are simple lunacy. And the policies are! But the government is not listening and it has the power. The wealthy and loquacious Mr. Ramaphosa talks of “united action” within the country but his government hasn’t the faintest idea of how to do anything but destroy. Who will stop them on this path to devastation?
Geluk aan boere vir flinke optrede / Congratulations to farmers for prompt action
TLU SA wil die boere van Leeudoringstad in Noordwes gelukwens met hulle optrede wat daartoe gelei het dat twee moordenaars van ‘n boer self met hulle lewe daarvoor moes boet.
TLU SA se Adjunk-President en voorsitter van die veiligheidskomitee, mnr. Henry Geldenhuys, het terselfdertyd sy ernstige misnoeë uitgespreek met die feit dat van hierdie moordenaars wat mnr. Johan van Rensburg vermoor het, skynbaar al voorheen vir 15 jaar tronk toe gestuur is vir gewapende roof. “Iets is verkeerd in die stelsel dat gevonniste misdadigers voortydig en boonop ongerehabiliteer op borgtog in die samelewing teruggeplaas word om met hulle duiwelswerk voort te gaan. Dit is onaanvaarbaar vir die gemeenskap en is ‘n klad op die Staat se regsplegende instellings. Strawwe moet so swaar wees dat misdadigers op hoë ouderdom met ‘n kierie uit die tronk kom, sodat hy eenvoudig nie in staat is om weer misdaad te kan pleeg nie,” sê mnr. Geldenhuys. Terselfdertyd is mnr. Geldenhuys bekommerd oor bespiegelinge dat van die boere dalk vir moord aangekla en selfs gearresteer kan word. “Hulle het net hulle eie mense en gemeenskap probeer beskerm en waarmee hulle suksesvol was. Om daardie mense nou te vervolg sal ‘n totaal verkeerde boodskap uitstuur aan misdadigers.”
“Hierdie voorval het egter bewys dat landelike gemeenskappe hoogs effektief kan wees as hulle georganiseerd is in hulle eie plaaswagstelsels, met hulle eie kommunikasie- en reaksievermoëns. TLU SA wil boere bly aanmoedig om ter wille van hulle eie veiligheid hulleself in plaaswagte te organiseer.”
Congratulations to farmers for prompt action
TAU SA wishes to congratulate the farmers from Leeudoringstad in Northwest. A farmer was murdered and subsequent action by farmers resulted in the apprehension of the criminals when two murderers paid with their lives.
TAU SA's Deputy President and Chairman of the Safety Committee, Mr. Henry Geldenhuys, at the same time expressed his utmost dissatisfaction with the fact that one of the murderers of Mr. Johan van Rensburg was apparently also convicted previously and sentenced to 15 years in jail for armed robbery. "Something is wrong with the system if convicted criminals are released on bail at an early stage without being rehabilitated in society to continue with their evil. This is unacceptable to the community and reflects a blot on the state's criminal justice system. Penalties should be so severe that professional criminals serve long sentences preventing them from repeating their hideous crimes once released" Mr Geldenhuys said. Meanwhile Mr. Geldenhuys is also concerned about rumors that the farmers might have to stand trial for murder and even be arrested. "They only protected their own people and community, which they did successfully. To prosecute those people will send completely wrong message to criminals."
"This incident has proved that rural communities can be highly effective when they are organized in their own farm watch with their communications and response capabilities. TAU SA encourages farmers to continue to organize themselves in farm watch structures for their own safety."
Help die Kommissaris asb / Please help the Commissioner
“Iemand moet die Nasionale Kommissaris van Polisie, Riah Phiyega, asseblief help met die vertolking van plaasmoord statistieke.” So sê TLU SA se Adjunk-President en Voorsitter van die Veiligheidskomitee, mnr. Henry Geldenhuys, na aanleiding van die kommissaris se voorlegging aan die Menseregte Kommissie (MRK) waarin sy meld dat plaasmoorde afneem, en dat daar geen verskil is tussen ’n plaasmoord en ’n ander moord nie.
TLU SA het sy syfers vir plaasmoorde tot en met die einde van September vrygestel. Daarvolgens blyk dit dat daar vanjaar 53 plaasmoorde plaasgevind het in 210 aanvalle. Dit verteenwoordig ’n skerp styging teenoor 2013, toe daar tot die einde van September 43 plaasmoorde plaasgevind het in 164 aanvalle. “Dit is dus enersyds verstommend dat die Kommissaris kan beweer dat daar ’n afname is in plaasaanvalle en –moorde, en andersyds wys dit op die foutfaktor op die polisie se eie statistiek. Vermoedelik is ander syfers van hulle dan ook verkeerd,” sê mnr. Geldenhuys. Hierdie ongewenste situasie bring mee dat die SAPD hulle eie syfers openbaar moet maak. Daar is geen rede anders as om hul eie onvermoë te probeer verdoesel om dit nie bekend te stel op ‘n gereelde basis nie.
“Die MRK-verhoor het al genoeg getuienis aangehoor van gebrekkige polisie-optrede, om welke rede ook al. Waar daar dan nog ‘n beroep op die gemeenskap gedoen word om die polisie by te staan, is hulle strukture nie in plek nie, soos blyk uit die chaotiese toestand rondom polisie reserviste.
“In sekere tradisioneel swart gemeenskappe gebeur dit toenemend dat reg in eie hande geneem word omdat die polisie nie optree nie. Dit sal ’n donker dag wees as daardie soort optrede sou uitkring. Ook die boere raak ongeduldig met die gevoel dat hulle eintlik voëlvry is,” sê mnr. Geldenhuys.
Please help the Commissioner
"Could someone perhaps assist the National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, with the interpretation of farm murder statistics," says TAU SA's Deputy President and Chairman of the Safety Committee, Mr Henry Geldenhuys. He reacted on the Commissioner's submission to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) where she said that farm murders are declining and that there is no difference between a farm murder and any other murder.
Earlier TAU SA released its figures for farm murders for 2014 until the end of September. Accordingly it seems that this year 53 murders occurred in 210 attacks. This represents a sharp increase over 2013, when until the end of September 43 murders occurred in 164 attacks. "It is amazing that on one hand the Commissioner may assert that there is a decline in farm attacks and murders, and on the other hand showing the error factor on the police's own statistics. Presumably, other police statistics will be wrong too," said Mr Geldenhuys. This unacceptable situation requires the SAPS have to make their own statistics public. There is no reason other than their own inability to try to disguise it, than to announce crime statistics on a regular basis.
"The HRC hearing has learnt about enough evidence of a lack of police action, for any reason whatsoever. Where appeals to the community to assist the police are made, the SAPS structures are not in place, as the chaotic situation around police reservists indicates.
"In some of the traditionally black communities it happens nowadays more regularly that the law is taken into their own hands because the police do not act. It will be a dark day if that kind of behaviour would spread. The farmers are becoming impatient with the feeling that they are free game," said Mr Geldenhuys.
Privatiseer Staatsgrond om begroting te laat klop
Privatiseer Staatsgrond om begroting te laat klop
Grond in die staat se hande, is ‘n ongesonde praktyk wat die land en Landbou net skade berokken.
Mnr. Louis Meintjes, TLU SA se President, het gereageer op die bekendmaking van gruwelike verwaarlosing op ’n plaas naby Nigel wat deur die plaaslike owerheid bestuur word. Skynbaar het talle varke en hoenders van dors gevrek terwyl plante in groentetonnels ook van droogte gevrek het. Daarbenewens het dit aan die lig gekom dat die Mamahlola farm naby Tzaneen, wat 10 jaar gelede aan die Banareng Ba-Ga-Letsoalo-gemeenskap gegee is en sedertdien onder administrasie van die regering geplaas is, nie sy werkers kan betaal nie aangesien dit wanbestuur word.
“Dit is ‘n bekende feit dat grond wat in private besit is, oor die algemeen beter bestuur word aangesien dit as deel van ‘n sake-onderneming beskou word wat winsgewend moet wees.
“Waar die staat grond bestuur, moet ‘n amptenaar met geen wesenlike of persoonlike belang die bestuur behartig. Die wins of verlies is nie vir sy eie rekening nie met die gevolg dat dit hom nie werklik raak nie.
“Waar die Minister van Finansies in sy tussentydse begroting aangekondig het dat sekere staatsbates gedeeltelik verkoop gaan word om die staat uit sy finansiële verknorsing te help, is dit onder daardie omstandighede juis nou wenslik om ook staatsgrond te verkoop sodat daar kommersieel op geboer kan word, in plaas dat dit verwaarloos word soos die Spaarwater- en Tzaneen-gevalle, waarin daar boonop R15 miljoen belastinggeld gepomp is (by Spaarwater) sonder ‘n enkele sent opbrengs daaruit,” sê mnr. Meintjes.
Boonop is dit ook so dat heelwat grond wat as gevolg van die restitusieproses van eienaarskap verwissel het, steeds in naam van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika geregistreer is. Daardie grond se titelaktes behoort onverwyld aan die nuwe begunstigdes daarvan oorgedra te word sodat hulle die geleentheid kan kry om voluit kommersieel daarop te produseer. Sonder eiendomsreg op daardie grond, sal die begunstigdes daarvan nooit ten volle suksesvol kan boer aangesien hulle nie toegang tot kapitaal het nie, sê mnr. Meintjes.
“Terselfdertyd moet die ANC se sekretaris-generaal, Gwede Mantashe, kennis neem van hierdie verwikkeling. Hier is nie ‘n persepsie van onvermoë nie, hier is die werklikheid van onvermoë, en in dié geval onvermoë van ‘n staatsinstelling wat deur die ANC beheer word.”
Privatize government’s landto get budget balanced
Land under the control of government is an unhealthy practice that causes only harm to the country and to agriculture.
Mr. Louis Meintjes, TAU SA's president, responded to the news of horrific neglect on a farm near Nigel that is managed by the local authority. Apparently many pigs and chickens died of thirst while plants in vegetable tunnels also died of drought. Meanwhile, it was revealed that the Mamahlola farm near Tzaneen, which was given to the Banareng Ba-Ga-Letsoala community 10 year ago and since then placed under the administration of the government, is not able to pay its workers because of mismanagement.
"It is a known fact that land that is privately owned is generally better managed as it is as part of a business that is considered to be profitable.
"Where government is the manager of land it is delegated to an official with no personal interest in the land. He does not share in the profits or losses with the result that he does not really care about the success.
"During the interim budget by the Minister of Finance he announced that certain state assets will be partially sold in an effort to get government out of its financial problems. Under those circumstances it would be desirable also to sell land owned by government and to get commercial farming going, rather than to let it be neglected as in the Spaarwater and Tzaneen cases where also R15 million of taxpayers' money was pumped in without a single cent return from it," SAID Mr Meintjes.
It's also a fact that many of the land that changed of ownership due to the restitution process is still registered in the name of the Republic of South Africa. That land's title deeds should be registered in the name of the current beneficiaries to enable them to get that land in full commercial production. Without ownership of that land they will experience difficulty in becoming successful farmers because they do not have access to capital, says Mr Meintjes.
"At the same time, the ANC's secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, has to take notice of these developments. This is not a perception of inability: here is the reality of failure, and failure by a local government under ANC control."