Emotions ran high as hundreds of farmers and residents gathered in a Free State town in protest against the brutal murder of a young farm manager.
EFF LEADER Julius Malema has slammed the response by police after a protest by farmers, in support of murdered farm manager Brendin Horner’s family, turned violent outside the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
However, civil rights organisation AfriForum, which had addressed the community of Senekal and branded farm attacks and murders as a form of terror, defended the farmers, saying in a statement: “The fury that the people expressed here today is the consequence of the cruelty of a problem that simply persists, coupled with government’s lackadaisical attitude towards farm murders.”
Emotions ran high as hundreds of farmers and residents had gathered in the Free State town in protest against the murder of the 22-year-old farm manager, who had been savagely beaten and his body tied to a pole on a farm near Paul Roux last Friday.
Two shots were fired, court property destroyed and a police vehicle overturned and set alight by the angry farmers when the two suspects, Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa, were taken to their holding cells.
Police acted with circumspection and eventually gained control of the situation and called for reinforcements.
However, the police’s response was far too tame for Malema’s liking.
‘’Whites don’t play; they are dealing with this clownish government of their puppet @CyrilRamaphosa. No single rubber bullet shot. Can you imagine if it was black people?’’ Malema said on Twitter.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the matter was postponed to October 16 for a formal bail application.
Makhele said after the court proceedings a group of farmers demanded that the suspects be handed over to them. He said the group had damaged court property while forcing their way to the cells.
“Two shots were fired from this group but no one was injured,” said Makhele, who added that while the situation is still tense, police had restored order.
A Twitter user had posted earlier: “Like so many other farmers I’m on my way to Senekal to display my grief and anger with the brutal murder of Brendin Horner in Paul Roux, Free State.
’’Like so many other farmers I hold the @MYANC responsible. They created and maintain this poisonous environment. The world must know!“
Bertus van der Westhuizen, the chairperson of agricultural organisation TLU SA in the Free State, said in a statement: “TLU SA hopes the government, Minister of Police Bheki Cele and criminals take note of the growing feeling of resistance under South African farmers.
“TLU SA does not support any form of vandalism. But the behaviour of the supporters reflects the feeling of farmers at ground level.
“The irreconcilable attitude and remarks of the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, against farmers add to this feeling. We are fed up and will no longer be targets …
“The government’s attitude towards and denial of the seriousness of farm attacks are unacceptable. We hope the government now realises that the chaos that could ensue if there is no active reaction would be unmanageable by the government.
“We want to contribute. We want to build and help to build the country to the benefit of each resident. But not where farmers are like birds on a wire, and everyone shoots at them.”