'I am the boer' – Agriculture DG says 'kill the boer' chant targets farmers of all races

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' director general, Mike Mlengana. (DAFF website)
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' director general, Mike Mlengana. (DAFF website)

Director general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Mike Mlengana has come out against the chant "kill the boer, kill the farmer", saying that farmers are people of all races who are all affected by farm murders.

During the first day of a summit on farm attacks, murders and stock theft hosted by the department in Pretoria, Mlengana responded to comments made by AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets that the ANC and EFF had been chanting the slogan recently at their respective gatherings.

"That is not the stance of our government... by the way if it is 'kill the boer, kill the farmer', it's killing me, because I am the boer," said Mlengana.

"Boer means farmer."

Citing a story of a friend of his, a black farmer who was brutally murdered, Mlengana said that farm murders were not a race-based problem and that farmers of all races were targeted by criminals.

"When they say kill the boers, they are not just talking about whites, they are talking about farmers."

'We need to stop pointing fingers'

He said the reason for the summit was for all role players to work together, adding that there was total commitment from government to end stock theft, farm attacks and killings.

"This ongoing scourge of criminal attacks in the farming community is causing serious damage and uncertainty which may affect jobs, economic growth and food security in the sector. This cannot be left unattended."

Mlengana said the department would be failing the nation if it did not act now against all forms of violence against farm owners and farmworkers.

"We need to stop pointing fingers [at] one another with regards to the root causes for these acts of violence, instead we must come with workable solutions that are within the laws of our country."

Mlengana said these solutions included rural safety strategies, action plans and land reform.

He added that if land was given back to the people, it would give rise to a less violent South Africa as it would be another step towards equality.

Following the summit, the department and the South African Police Service will go into talks about the possible linking of budgets to execute and implement action plans that will come from this two-day summit, Mlengana said.

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