Protesters take to roads to highlight farm attacks
Supporters all over SA join #BlackMonday motorcades
ALMOST 400 hundred Bay farmers, their families and supporters donned black clothing and took part in a motorcade as part of the national #BlackMonday demonstrations intended to create awareness about the increasing scourge of farm murders and attacks across the country.
Some 163 vehicles left Cows Corner in Colleen Glen just before 1pm yesterday, with some occupants waving black flags from their cars while others had black crosses drawn on the side of their vehicles.
The motorcade made its way along the N2 highway to the John Tallant intersection before turning around and heading back.
In Cape Town, a large convoy of bakkies, tractors, horse-drawn carts and farm trucks moved from Kanonkop to the Greenpoint stadium near the city’s CBD.
It was reported that some demonstrators had the old South African flag emblazoned on their black clothes.
A smallscale vegetable farmer from KwaZulu-Natal, Bokkie Potgieter, believed to be in his 70s, was found hacked to death in his bakkie near Vryheid yesterday morning.
Potgieter’s alleged killer was killed by neighbouring farm workers.
Also in KwaZulu-Natal, farmers wearing black from the Bergville‚ Estcourt‚ Himeville‚ Colenso and Ladysmith areas‚ drove in convoy along the R74 and onto the N3.
In Gauteng, hundreds of motorists were left frustrated as farmers barricaded the R82 with trucks and tractors just after 9am.
The road was only cleared by 10.50am. Midvaal traffic was backed up on the R59 and the N1 South near Pretoria was blocked toward Lynwood Road.
Three people were injured in a 13-vehicle collision in Mpumalanga when a truck ploughed into vehicles blocking the N4 highway.
Closer to home, the motorcade organised by FarmCom Neighbourhood Watch chairman Willie Bosch went ahead without a hitch, with additional motorists joining the convoy as it made its way along the highway.
“We are doing this because we are a farming community and in the past [we have] experienced murders as well.
“This is not a political [demonstration], it is for all farmers of all races and farm workers,” Bosch said.
Supporter Otto van Rooyen said: “We are all gathered here to pledge allegiance with all farmers and their families and to inform the world of what is happening here in [South Africa].”
Elands River Valley bee keeper Patsy Kruger, 49, said: “I am dressed in black not because I am a Satanist or because of Halloween, but to show my support with farmers around the country.
“Farm murders are not only stopping people from producing food but also preventing job opportunities for others.”
Thinus Swanepoel, 48, of Lorraine, said he took part in the motorcade to show support for his farmer friends.
“We need to stop farm killings and stand together.
“For us, why kill farmers if they are the ones producing food for the country?” he said.
Juan Roesstorff, 33, who has been farming cattle in the St Albans and Rocklands areas since 2004, said: “We need to create awareness of farm murders and attacks.
“It is very important for us to come together. [Hopefully] things can only get better from here.”
Further along the N2, about 600 people gathered for a prayer service near Humansdorp.
In Port Alfred, a 40-minute prayer meeting was held at 10am outside the library.
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said a group of about 50 people, dressed mostly in black clothing, gathered on the lawn and no disruptions occurred.
Cradock police spokeswoman Captain Lariane Jonker said about 300 people attended a peaceful demonstration in the town.
Afriforum chief executive Kallie Kriel said the national protest was the biggest they had ever seen against farm attacks.
They would organise another protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on November 25, he said.
Afriforum says 70 people have been killed in 341 farm attacks since January last year. – Additional reporting by Yoliswa Sobuwa, TimesLIVE, Graeme Hosken, Gareth Wilson and Nomahlubi Jordaan.
CREATING AWARENESS: Motorists take part in yesterday’s protest convoy on the N2 highway near Port Elizabeth
MAKING A POINT: This protester’s message is clear