Stop calling farmers land thieves - Transvaal Agricultural Union

Farm. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Farm. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cape Town - Farmers are tired of being called land thieves and are willing to produce their title deeds to show that they are not guilty, the president of the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) said on Thursday.

"Us farmers are tired of being called criminals who stole the land," Louis Meintjes said in a statement.

"We all have our deeds and paid for the land."

Government earned revenue from duties and taxes from each land transaction, and local authorities milked them for rates, he said.

"Therefore, farmers do not need to tolerate any of these false allegations anymore."

He said President Jacob Zuma should also come clean on whether or not there should be compensation for expropriated land.

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Calling farmers land thieves could lead to anarchy if people subverted constitutional provisions on land restitution.

As it was, people living on farms felt unsafe after at least 11 people were killed since the beginning of February, he said.

He challenged Zuma to explain why he had said nothing about farm attacks in his State of the Nation Address. Emotions were running high and farmers would start mobilising themselves for protection.

This week, two farm-related murder cases went before the courts.

In one, farmworker Jan Railwa was shot dead on a farm near Modimolle, in Limpopo, allegedly mistakenly by a man hunting for warthogs. Stephan Hepburn was arrested and is applying for bail in the Modimolle Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Separately, the bodies of Louis Smuts, 48, and his wife Belinda, 42, and his parents, Gert, 78, and Paulina, 77, were found on Modderbult farm, about 20km from Balfour, Mpumalanga, on Tuesday morning. They were all shot dead.

Four people were arrested but their names were not immediately available.

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