#Black­Mon­day farm killing

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Thami Magubane, Siphumelele Khu­malo and Ithume­leng Macheru

AS THOU­SANDS of peo­ple marched across the coun­try to high­light the scourge of farm at­tacks, another farmer was hacked to death and stuffed in his bakkie in Vry­heid.

Bokkie Pot­gi­eter, a veg­etable farmer in north­ern KwaZulu-Natal, was found dead in his bakkie and his al­leged at­tacker was killed by work­ers on the neigh­bour­ing farm af­ter he crashed the stolen bakkie.

Po­lice spokesper­son Nqo­bile Gwala said a 73-year-old man was busy build­ing a chicken kraal in the KwaDikadika area, when he was at­tacked with a bush knife and his body was dragged to his Ford Ban­tam bakkie.

Gwala said the vic­tim’s ve­hi­cle crashed into an elec­tric­ity pole and com­mu­nity mem­bers saw the bakkie and went to in­ves­ti­gate.

The lat­est farm killing co­in­cided with the Black Mon­day march.

Ma­tric pupils were also caught up in the morn­ing high­way traf­fic jam and ar­rived late for their ex­ams in Gaut­eng while some in other prov­inces missed the 9am math­e­mat­ics pa­per 2 exam al­to­gether.

The protest‚ #Black­Mon­day‚ was de­rived from a video by Chris Loub­ser‚ a farm man­ager from Fran­schhoek‚ whose friend was one of the 70 farm­ers killed since Jan­uary as re­ported by AfriFo­rum. While some or­gan­i­sa­tions called for #Black­Mon­day to be a stand against all crime in the coun­try, the protests yes­ter­day were largely against farm mur­ders.

A num­ber of mostly white farm­ers used their cars to block the R59 high­way in Vereenig­ing, caus­ing a mas­sive traf­fic back­log. It was this con­ges­tion that had pupils writ­ing ma­tric ex­ams fear­ing the con­se­quences of miss­ing their pa­per. A sim­i­lar march took place in Cape Town, and there were also smaller protests in towns in KwaZulu-Natal.

Some of the af­fected pupils and par­ents took to so­cial me­dia to voice their frus­tra­tions.

@KingN­tokozo tweeted: “I have a ques­tion? Can you take the or­gan­is­ers of #Black­Mon­day to court if you missed an exam?” Pree Kat Mathe­vundla wrote: “Some peo­ple are self­ish, they didn’t think about the fu­ture our ma­tric­u­lants; what will hap­pen to those who ap­plied for uni­ver­si­ties next year?”

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion also ex­pressed con­cern at the in­con­ve­nience caused to pupils.

“It is re­gret­table that they had to write this im­por­tant pa­per un­der th­ese con­di­tions,” said Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi.

He said pupils who ar­rived late for their ex­am­i­na­tions were al­lowed into ex­am­i­na­tion rooms, even those who ex­ceeded the one-hour cut-off time, and ad­min­is­tra­tive pre­scripts would be in­voked for all those who might have missed to­day’s pa­per.

Some so­cial me­dia users were an­gered by the dis­play of old South African flags by some pro­test­ers.

@Kei­th_AM wrote: “South Africa has about 19 000 mur­ders a year. This year, 71 farm­ers have been mur­dered. Why not sim­ply march against all mur­ders #Black­Mon­day.”

EFF Leader Julius Malema also took a swipe at the may­hem caused by the high­way block­ade.

“White farm­ers are block­ing the roads il­le­gal (sic) and po­lice are not shoot­ing rub­ber bul­lets, but if it was African youth, yoh!!!,” tweeted Malema. Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula agreed with Malema re­gard­ing po­lice inaction.

“Law­less­ness from any quar­ter is un­ac­cept­able and should be con­demned. In this in­stance you might be right, po­lice low­ered the guard,” he wrote.

Farm­ers pre­sented their mem­o­ran­dum of griev­ances to Mid­vaal mayor Bon­gani Baloyi.

It read, in part: “Stop the killing of our farm­ers, stop all hate crimes done against white peo­ple, stop white geno­cide, help us white peo­ple to feel safe in South Africa and bring more po­lice to our neigh­bour­hoods and farms to pa­trol and be on the look­out for crime.”

The farm­ers’ mem­o­ran­dum also said: “If we don’t re­ceive a re­ply from you in seven days, then we will be forced to come back again, only this time we will come back for six days.

“If we don’t get a re­ply that you did de­liver this let­ter to Par­lia­ment in 14 days, then we will be forced to come back for 14 days! We need to be heard, and we will do what­ever it takes for our voices to be heard.”

Mean­while, ER24 said three peo­ple were in­jured when a truck rammed into cars on the N4 in Mpumalanga dur­ing the #Black­Mon­day protest, caus­ing a 13-ve­hi­cle pile-up.

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE/ANA

Thou­sands of farm­ers and sup­port­ers of their cause joined con­voys around the coun­try as part of #Black­Mon­day to protest against farm mur­ders.

PIC­TURE: SAISH MOTHERAM/LADY­SMITH GAZETTE

In sup­port of Black Mon­day, KZN farm­ers from Lady­smith, Win­ter­ton, Est­court, Colenso and Wee­nen hold a prayer ses­sion along the N3 high­way near Lady­smith yes­ter­day. The farm­ers were protest­ing against at­tacks on them and their farm­work­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.