Hundreds of people protested at the Union Buildings in the capital on Saturday under the banner “Unite against farm murders” and called for police to do more to prevent farm attacks.
A day of protest and prayer against farm murders and attacks at the Union Buildings lawns in Pretoria on 10 October 2020. Picture: AFP.
JOHANNESBURG – There are growing calls for more security for communities in the country’s rural areas.
Hundreds of people under the banner “Unite against farm murders” marched to the Union Buildings in the capital on Saturday.
They’re angry about farm attacks in the country and want police to do more to prevent the crimes.
Traffic on the bustling N1 South was brought to a standstill when the protesters blocked the road with their cars and motorcycles while driving to Pretoria where a memorandum of demands was handed to government representatives.
Police union Popcru said while farmers were within their rights to vent their anger, there were limitations.
“All South African citizens have the unalienable right to protest, but it should be within the bounds of the Constitution.
“As a police union we definitely condemn farm killings and the abuse of farm workers alike and we believe there should be methods of greater cooperation,” said spokesperson Richard Mamabolo.
The demonstration comes amid a heated debate about how police responded to the storming of the Senekal Magistrates Court in the Free State following the killing of farm worker Brendin Horner.
The 21-year-old’s body was found tied to a pole last week. Two suspects linked to the murder are in custody.
His killing sparked widespread outrage in the community, with some farmers damaging public property while a police vehicle was set alight.
BRENDIN HORNER MURDER ACCUSEDS APPEAR IN COURT : SENEKAL. FS. HUNDREDS OF FARM COMMUNITY INVADE COURT & WREAK HAVOC. SAPS MV TORCHED. pic.twitter.com/MM8UBHD7eO
— REZA (@crimeairnetwork) October 6, 2020
Authorities have been criticised for not doing enough to quell the violence, but Mamabolo said the police did what they could.
“Had the police acted in Senekal during the protests, they were outnumbered and the situation could have become even worse. We heard some of the farmers were armed. We commend the police for retreating. That level of disruption cannot be tolerated, whether you have genuine grievances or not.”
A 52-year old man has since been arrested in connection with the violence outside the court.