Cele misleading public about farm murders - AfriForum

2015-01-13 22:22
Bheki Cele (File: Sapa)

Bheki Cele (File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Deputy Agriculture Minister Bheki Cele was misleading the public when he said farm murders had nothing to do with race, AfriForum said on Tuesday.

Deputy CEO of AfriForum, Ernst Roets, said Cele's statement made it seem as though he was not seriously considering the plea of those who called for the prioritisation of farm murders.

"Instead of recognising the need to prioritise farm murders, a false accusation of racism is made," said Roets. During a media briefing in Pretoria, Cele told reporters that farm killings were not racially motivated.

"We are urging everybody, starting with the media and everybody - take the race issue out of farm murders," Cele said.

"The people that are being killed are farmers... Whether they are white, black, yellow, green or purple, we have seen farmers coming under attack and we treat it as such," he said, adding that his department took the killings seriously.

Roets, however, called on government to acknowledge facts.

"The hard facts are that the majority of farmers who are being murdered, are white. Whether it is simply because most farmers are white, or because there is an underlying racial motive, will at this stage amount to speculation," said Roets.

"We know, however, that black farmers and farm workers are also murdered during farm attacks," he said.

He added that AfriForum did not distinguish along racial lines when it called for action to prevent farm murders.

Farm murders were not being prioritised because they did not fit within the ruling party's agenda, Roets said.

"If the government uses the necessary resources and displays the necessary political leadership, farm murders will stop," he said.

Cele said the agriculture department had a limited role in combating the murders.

"Agriculture cannot say we will arrest those that kill the farmers. We wish we could, but we can't. We cannot say we will shoot them," he said.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana, however, acknowledged that the farm attacks were a worrying trend.

He told reporters at the briefing that he was not prepared to outline a strategy to combat farm attacks but the specifications were the responsibility of the police.

"We need to create a forum in which farmers, farm workers and the community around the farms can work as a team. We need to harmonise the farming communities. We have started to work with other departments," said Zokwana.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  bheki cele  |  johannesburg  |  murder  |  farm attacks

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