President Cyril Ramaphosa, urging South Africans to work together to fight crime, on Monday condemned the current murder rates that have included the killing of white farmers in remote rural areas of the country recently.The recent killing of a young white farm manager led a group of fellow whites to stage a violent protest at a police station where the suspected killer had been taken for processing.
While the proceedings were underway, some white protestors trashed the police premises and burnt a police vehicle before leaving.
The police have since arrested the violent protesters under Police Minister Bheke Cele’s orders.
In his weekly message, Ramaphosa urged South Africans to work together to eliminate crime in the country. “While anger at the senseless killings is justifiable, vigilantism is not,” he said.
He added: “The brutal killing of a young white farmer, allegedly by black men, followed by the spectacle of white farmers storming a police station to get to a black suspect, has opened up wounds that go back many generations.
“If the country is to succeed in tackling violent crime, particularly in rural communities, society must ‘confront this trauma and challenge the racial attitudes that prevent a united response’.”
“Those people who think that farm attacks affect just a small part of our population are wrong. The farming community is an integral part of our economy.
“The farming community produces the food that we eat. Violent crime on farms poses not just a threat to the safety of our rural communities, but to our nation’s food security,” he said.
Ramaphosa dismissed claims that violent crime on farms was part of an orchestrated campaign by black South Africans to drive white farmers off the land, saying this simply was not borne out by facts.
He said that numerous studies showed that crime in farming communities was largely opportunistic due to their isolated location which resulted in the relative lack of access to security and other services.
“Contrary to the irresponsible claims of some lobby groups, killings on farms are not ethnic cleansing. They are not genocidal. They are acts of criminality and must be treated as such.
“The success of our rural safety strategy rests on greater coordination and better communication between the South African Police Service, business, farming organisations and communities,” the president said.