Mchunu assures farmers of government support

2014-03-07 00:00

PREMIER Senzo Mchunu yesterday assured the farming community in KZN that his government has high regard for them.

“It is for this reason that over the past few weeks I have been meeting with farmers and farm workers in order to deal with issues that affect them on a daily basis.

“In my last meeting between members of cabinet and farmers in Utrecht I committed this government towards the allocation of resources to ensure stability on farms,” he said.

Mchunu was speaking after he and government leaders visited the family of Richmond farmer Ekard Schutte (77), his wife, Elizabeth (66), and their son, Lutz (33), who were murdered on their smallholding on Saturday night.

This as Afriforum urged farmers in the province to mobilise and prepare themselves for land grabs following what it described as 10 days of three farms being invaded by land grabbers, two farm attacks and the killings of the Schuttes.

“It is quite clear that government has totally forsaken farmers. Farmers will have to safeguard their own lives and property from now on. It is vitally important that farmers join security networks in order to protect themselves and each other,” Afriforum’s community safety head Ian Cameron said.

Cameron said farmers have been at the receiving end of farm attacks and land grabs in Richmond, Elandslaagte, Camperdown, Karkloof, Howick and Margate.

Referring to the killing of the Schuttes, Mchunu said the brutal and violent nature of the crime committed by the suspects has left the family traumatised.

“It was very devastating to see the family in that state,” he told the sitting of the legislature yesterday.

The premier commended the police for their swift action in arresting the suspects. “We hope that justice will take its course. We condemn this callous and cold murder of the people in the province, farmers and non-farmers.

“We remain concerned with the situation and it is something we have to keep on working on.”

He said he had been touched by a family member, who apparently previously had no trust in the police, but changed their mind after the swift arrests.

Crime was one issue the government would be focusing on, he said.

“Every one of us should be playing a role in crime prevention by co-operating with law enforcement agencies.”

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