Ramaphosa on farm murders: They are not genocidal or ethnic cleansing

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has rejected the notion of a “white genocide” in SA.

This comes after claims that the scourge of farm murders was “ethnic cleansing”, after the murder of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner in Senekal, Free State.

Horner was murdered earlier this month and his death sparked violent protests by community members from Senekal and surrounding areas who demanded justice.

A man was arrested in connection with the protests at the Senekal magistrate's court, where two men accused of murdering Horner appeared last week.

TimesLIVE reported that the man will hear on Tuesday whether he will be released on bail. He was initially charged with malicious damage to property and public violence but now faces two additional charges — attempted murder and terrorism.

The trial of the two accused men was postponed to October 16 for a formal bail application.

Here are seven quotes from Ramaphosa's letter to the nation on the matter:

Farm murders pose a threat to the nation's food security

“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.”

Murders of white farmers not an orchestrated campaign

“The claim that violent crime on farms is part of an orchestrated campaign by blacks to drive white farmers off their land is simply not borne out by fact.”

Crime in farming communities 'largely opportunistic'

“Numerous studies show that crime in farming communities is largely opportunistic. Rural communities are more vulnerable because of their isolated location and, as a result, the relative lack of access to security and other services.”

Killings on farms are not ethnic cleansing

“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.”

Race relations in farming communities 

“We would be naive to assume that race relations in farming communities have been harmonious since the advent of democracy. Unless this is addressed in an open and honest manner, unless we are prepared to engage in dialogue, this will remain a festering wound that threatens social cohesion.”

One murder is a murder too many

“We stand in solidarity with all victims of crime, regardless of whether they live in cities or on farms, whether they are farmers or farmworkers.

We must work together to root out criminality, whether it is in Senekal or on the streets of Delft [in Cape Town]. Crime is not somebody else’s problem, it is our collective problem.

Not turning a blind eye

“We must not be blinded by our own prejudices to the suffering and pain of others. It should not matter to us if the victim of violent crime is black or white.

“To do so would be a betrayal not just of this country’s founding principles, but of our own humanity.”


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