Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital News
White farmers and their supporters have in recent months staged protests across South Africa against a spike in assaults and murders


S.African leader tries to calm racial tension over farm attacks

White farmers and their supporters have in recent months staged protests across South Africa against a spike in assaults and murders © AFP/File / Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg, South Africa, Oct 12 – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called for calm on Monday, hoping to tamp down rising racial tension in his country following months of protests by white farmers over a spike in deadly attacks.

The tensions reached a new level early last week when a group of mainly white farmers stormed a courthouse during the hearing of two black suspects accused of killing a 22-year-old farm manager.

Ramaphosa, in his weekly newsletter to the nation, rejected claims by pressure groups representing the country’s white minority that the farm attacks were racially motivated.

He instead characterised the attacks as a sad reminder that the country was still recovering from its dark past under the apartheid regime, which ended in 1994.

“We would be naive to assume that race relations in farming communities have been harmonious since the advent of democracy,” Ramaphosa wrote.

“Unless this is addressed in an open and honest manner, unless we are prepared to engage in dialogue, this will remain a festering wound that threatens social cohesion.”

– ‘Not genocidal’ –

Ramaphosa condemned the murder of the young farm manager earlier this month in the Free State province, around 300 kilometres (185 miles) south of Johannesburg.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says that “killings on farms are not ethnic cleansing” © AFP/File / Phill Magakoe

He said the spectacle of white farmers storming a court to attack two black suspects “opened up wounds that go back many generations.”

The alleged lead instigator of the rioters, Andre Pienaar, who is in his 50s, was subsequently arrested and charged with terrorism on Friday.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Ramaphosa said the incident showed “just how easily the tinderbox of race hatred can be ignited”.

Ramaphosa pleaded against attempts to use the farm violence to mobilise communities along racial lines, pointing out that most victims of violent crime in South Africa were black and poor.

“The claim that violent crime on farms is part of an orchestrated campaign by blacks to drive white farmers off their land is simply not borne out by fact,” Ramaphosa said.

“Killings on farms are not ethnic cleansing,” he added.

“They are not genocidal. They are acts of criminality and must be treated as such.”

More than a quarter of century after the end of apartheid, South Africa is battling racial tensions, while economic inequality and poverty haunt the “Rainbow Nation”.

– ‘Something brewing here’ –

White farmers and their supporters have staged protests across the country in recent months against the increase in assaults and killings on farms.

The protesters in Pretoria on Saturday called on Ramaphosa to act to stop the violence © AFP/File / Phill Magakoe

Such attacks had dropped drastically during the first few months of the country’s coronavirus lockdown due to restricted movement, but from June the assaults spiked, according to farmers.

The latest protest was on Saturday when some 500 farmers gathered in front the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria, carrying flags and crosses.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Kneeling on the lawn in silent prayer and raising their fists, the protesters called on Ramaphosa to act to stop the violence.

“He must strongly condemn it… If the government doesn’t stand up we must stand up ourselves,” protest organiser Kallie Roux said.

Farmer Barend Pienaar said that “we’re here to tell the world there is trouble”.

“There’s big trouble in South Africa, there’s something brewing here for the past 25 years,” he said at the protest.

AfriForum, a pressure group that defends the interests of the country’s white population, has recorded 292 farm this year, including 38 murders inclusive of all races.

South Africa overall has a high murder rate — in the 12 months up to April, police statistics show 21,325 murders, an average of 58 per day.

Agricultural federation AgriSA deplored the “unacceptable” levels of “violence and brutality” on the farms.

The country’s largest opposition party Democratic Alliance on Monday laid criminal charges against firebrand opposition politician Julius Malema over “incendiary posts” after he tweeted a picture of a machine gun the day before.

Earlier last week Malema tweeted that “cowards move to the back, fighters attack!”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Click to comment

Corona Virus Data


Last Updated: 5 mins ago

Confirmed Cases


New Cases


Total Deaths


New Deaths


Total Recovered


Active Cases


in Critical


More on Capital News


NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Nairobi County will retain its current special status, where the national government through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is...

Capital Health

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 –Health care workers in the country have vowed to reject the just released Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional review report,...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 –The Kenya Commercial Bank temporarily closed its Advantage Branch on Moi Avenue in Nairobi on Thursday afternoon after a customer...

Capital Health

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22- COVID-19 cases in Kenya surged to 47,212 Thursday, after the country recorded 1,068 cases on a single day. The new...


KISUMU, Kenya Oct 22 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has admitted that the handshake he had with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has given him...


NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 22 – Former Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo was on Thursday awarded Sh1 as compensation in a case in which she had...

Capital Health

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Deaths due to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are projected to rise to 55 percent by the year 2030. A retrospective...

Fifth Estate

By Dr.David Matsanga in United Kingdom On my birthday I have decided to add value to the current debate of reconciliation. I will leave...