'All murders' condemned in Parliament

2017-10-31 22:18
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

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#BlackMonday: Watch as South Africans stand in solidarity with slain farmers

2017-10-30 18:27

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Cape Town – Summing up the general feeling of parties represented in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon during a debate in the National Assembly on the "scourge of murders" in South Africa, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said all murders deserved attention.

The debate comes a day after the so-called #BlackMonday protests against farm murders, which saw some protesters bearing the apartheid-era South African flag.

READ: All lives matter, not just whites – ANC on #BlackMonday march

For those protesters, Mbalula had harsh words.

He said there were racists driving an "insurgency agenda" among the protesters and that the old flag belonged in the "dustbin". He also said criminal acts – the illegal closure of roads – would not be tolerated in future.

"I will never allow this country to be polarised by criminal acts!" Mbalula said.

He did, however, concede that many protesters had a valid reason to protest. He said he had met with white Afrikaans-speaking farmers, "proud boere" who were not racist, that he wanted to work with.

74 out of 19 000 murders farm-related

"Unity is crucial for our survival as a people," Mbalula said.

He said South Africans should stop blaming each other and start fighting a common enemy.

He said there were about 19 000 murders in South Africa, of which 74 were farm-related, in South Africa last year.

"This is too much for our country."

ALSO READ: Cape Town organiser says there were no apartheid flags at #BlackMonday protest

For two of the twelve MPs who participated in the debate, the topic hit close to home.

DA MP Zakhele Mbhele, who called for the debate, said: "This is a trauma and tragedy that has been known and felt by many families, including my own."

He said in two weeks, on November 15, it will be seven years since his mother was "brutally murdered with multiple stab wounds, the result of a labour dispute gone horribly wrong with her gardener".

The man pleaded guilty and received the maximum sentence for murder.

UDM MP Mncedisi Filtane said about four years ago his brother was shot in his sleep.

"We still feel the effect," he said.

Call for appointments to be made

While the ANC, EFF, IFP and NFP focused on South Africa's inequality as a cause for the high level of violent crime, the DA focused on the failings of the police, and FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said every murder in South Africa was one murder too many, but he wanted to emphasise farm murders because they involve everybody, as farmers provide food.

"And if I look around, there are quite a few honourable members who really like to eat," he added.

Mbhele said while the DA didn't negate the role of history and how its effects play out in contemporary patterns of social dysfunction, this reasoning loses its potency with time.

"No one can reasonably expect centuries of that history to be undone or reversed in 23 years, but we can reasonably expect to have made faster progress than we have under the ANC," he said.

ANC MP and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police Francois Beukman said the fight against crime and the high murder rate require the police to refocus on crime prevention, detection and crime intelligence.  

He said a permanent national commissioner, head of crime intelligence and deputy national commissioner for detective services should be appointed as soon as possible.

Read more on:    fikile mbalula  |  crime  |  protests

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