Home South African Tensions mount as EFF and AfriForum plan Senekal protests

Tensions mount as EFF and AfriForum plan Senekal protests

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Senekal has been plagued by racial tensions over the death of a young white farm manager Brendin Horner who was murdered earlier this month

EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: EPA/Nic Bothma

ONGOING racial tensions are set to intensify in volatile Senekal in the Free State this week as the EFF and AfriForum prepare to square off and stage separate protest actions in the farming town.

Senekal has been plagued by racial tensions over the death of a young white farm manager, Brendin Horner, who was murdered earlier this month.

Last week, white farmers went on a rampage and stormed the magistrate’s court, where the two suspects accused of killing Horner appeared, before damaging police vehicles and setting one of them on fire outside the court.

The incident has heightened racial tensions and resulted in protests by political formations in the area.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo visited Senekal on Tuesday, where they met with organised farming structures and community representatives as part of quelling the ongoing tensions in the area.

Cele and Dlodlo also visited Horner’s home where they expressed their condolences to the family.

On Tuesday, EFF leader Julius Malema reiterated that his party was planning to paint the small farming town red on Friday to protect state property from white protesters, which he accused the police of failing to do.

Speaking outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court where he and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were facing charges of assault against a police officer, Malema accused the police of being scared of white people and of letting them engage in vandalism.

“You cowards allowed white people to burn your cars. You are cowards. We are not cowards. We are getting them come Friday. And there is no one who can stop us,” he said.

Malema said that the EFF would not be in Senekal to protect those accused of the killing of Horner but to confront white arrogance.

“We have no business with murderers. That black man who killed a white man must go and rot in jail. It is not our problem. We do not protect criminals but we will never allow white men to show us what they showed (Nelson) Mandela during the negotiations.

“That thing must have ended there. That white arrogance should have ended there,” he said.

AfriForum has, however, announced that it will also be heading to the same area to stage its own protest action against farm murders and violence.

The organisation said in a statement that it had resolved to hold the protest to ensure that “the voice of the peaceful majority, that want to show their anger and dissatisfaction about the acts of terrorism on farms in an organised manner, is not silenced by a small group of instigators and the provocative behaviour of the EFF”.

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel accused the country’s “safety services” of being behind the violent rampage by farmers, adding that the state had “deployed a small group of agents provocateurs to storm the court” to discredit a peaceful march that was organised against farm murders.

“It was observed that at least five men were placed strategically in the crowd and made inflammatory remarks.

“These men continuously communicated with each other on their cellphones and some even wore masks completely covering their faces to hide their identity.

“When a small group incited by this inflammatory behaviour stormed the courtroom, these men ran to their vehicles and drove away,” said Kriel.

Meanwhile, Andre Pienaar, 51, the only farmer who was arrested for the violent rampage in the town last week, was denied bail in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

He is charged with attempted murder after he discharged a firearm when he forcefully entered the court along with other protesting farmers. They also damaged police vehicles.

In their meeting with farmers in Bethlehem, Cele and Dlodlo were given 21 days to come up with a tangible plan on how to deal with farm attacks.

Farmer Fani Mashinini said they lived in fear and that their livestock was decreasing by the day.

“There is no security for us whatsoever. We are on our own. Whenever I see something on the farm I have to make sure that I call other local farmers so that they could accompany me to go check what is happening.”

Mashinini, who has more than 200 cows, said the level of livestock theft was alarming.

“The cows keep on reducing. The farm criminals seem to be smart. It’s very worrying for us because we can’t move our livestock freely.”

Jess de Klerk, another farmer, said that the farming syndicates were well organised. “They use dogs to hunt, and the dogs are also used as scouts,” he said.