FRIDAY BRIEFING | How Senekal became a flashpoint for crime, race and governance

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Flashpoint Senekal: How a small town saw race, land and history converge

Last week's events in Senekal, the eastern Free State, rocked many South Africans to the core.

A violent crime, large-scale demonstrations and protesters storming a magistrate's court demanding access to two alleged murderers.

It did, however, shine the spotlight on some of the fundamental problems that South Africa faces: crime, governance, race and land.

It was a murder that led to protests and frustration with a weak criminal justice system that led to violence, which again ignited a debate about race and land. Senekal represents the full complexity of our national issues, and underscores how difficult it is not only to find a solution, but even to debate the origins of our problems.

Senekal happened because of two things: rampant crime and poor governance as well as anger and frustration because it is legitimate and justified. Horner's death - like the more than 59 daily murders that occur in this country - is unacceptable and due to a broken system. And it's the broken system which is creating space for the racial and ethnic nationalists and populists to broadcast their damaging and divisive rhetoric.

In this week's edition of Friday Briefing, we attempt to seek solutions by understanding the issues. Dan Kriek, a leading farmer in the eastern Free State (and a former president of AgriSA) writes about rural crime and how farmers perceive the environment.

Motsepe Matlala, a farmer and president of the National African Farmers' Association, tells Vanessa Banton it is time for an agricultural Codesa.

We also have analyses from Pierre Vercuiel, AgriSA's president, Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus, constitutional law expert Elmien du Plessis and analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela, while News24's James de Villiers speaks to experts about the police and seeks to figure out why the police are so ineffective.

I will be in Senekal on Friday to cover events there - and also trying to understand why it has come to this.

Best,

Pieter du Toit

Assistant Editor: In-depth news.


Brendin Horner murder: The perfect storm

The murder of Brendin Horner has proven to be the perfect storm for farmers who feel unsafe, unheard and exposed, writes Dan Kriek. 

Why its time for an agriculture sector Codesa: Six questions with Nafu's Motsepe Matlala

In the wake of Brendin Horner's murder, News24 spoke to the president of the National African Farmer's Union, Motsepe Matlala, to get his views on the latest developments.

Senekal murder: Farm attacks are not the same as ordinary crime

In the wake of Brendin Horner's murder, it is time for farm attacks to be made a priority crime, writes Pieter Groenewald

Senekal murder: A turning point in fight against rural crime

The farming community is losing billions because of crime, writes Pierre Vercueil.

Senekal murder: Whichever lens you are using, we are affected by the same issue

The framing of farm murders is important if you want to get South Africans on board, writes Elmien du Plessis.

SA's crime levels: We need a state willing to admit it has failed us so far

Mpumelelo Mkhabela asks that if the state is unable to protect its own assets against looting, both internally and externally, how then can it execute an effective national security strategy in isolated rural areas of our country?  

Analysis | Murders and rampant corruption on the rise: How do we fix South Africa's police service

Questions are being asked as to how the South African Police Service (SAPS) can be fixed, and whether it can be fixed at all.

To receive the Friday Briefing, sign up for the newsletter here.

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