Mpumalanga Safety and Security MEC, Vusi Shongwe, has proposed that the land of white farmers who abuse black workers be “confiscated”.
Shongwe told City Press that the ANC government needed to stop being reactionary but come up with proper and sober solutions to deal with embedded racism that rears its ugly head in South Africa.
The MEC said in response to the murder of two black farm labourers at Pampoenkraal near Piet Retief allegedly by Daniel Malan (38), Cornelius Greyling (25) and Othard Klingenberg (53).
“The solution does not rest with us in Mpumalanga because racism is all over the country, even in the US. As the ANC we must take proper and sober decisions. We always react to these incidents,” Shongwe said.
“Government must confiscate those farms if there is proof that a farmer is violating human rights,” he said.
The trio allegedly shot and killed brothers Zenzele and Mgcini Coka on Friday last week and severely assaulted another farm worker. The siblings were among farm workers who went to the farm to seek employment but were told there were no vacancies.
The police said that when they left, they realised that one of them was left behind and they turned back. Their return to the farm allegedly sparked a scuffle as they demanded that the other job-seeker be released. The farmers allegedly fired shots that killed the Coka brothers while three other workers were injured.
Malan, Greyling and Klingenberg appeared in the Piet Retief Magistrates’ Court on Monday and they were remanded in custody until their next court appearance on April 19 to apply for bail.
Political organisations and community members marched in the town when the suspects appeared in court.
Mkhondo Justice for Economic Development chairperson, Treasure Thabethe, said that Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola must assess how the court handles this matter.
“We want the court to hand over a harsh sentence, same as the sentences imposed on black people for stealing a [toothpaste]. We also want to put it clear that any failure by the justice system to deal with these murders will result in a civil war as we have been witnessing many farm owners getting away with murder,” Thabethe said.
He added that the local prosecutors were biased to white suspects and it would be better if the trial of the three farmers was televised live.