Black farmers are increasingly being targeted by attackers and land invaders … precisely because they don’t have the support white farmers do.
The massed protests around the country over the weekend by bikers, expressing their disgust at farm murders, could not be ignored … and some saw it as a sign of a growing groundswell of mainstream opinion against the attacks and the government’s failure to act.
Yet, as we report today, black farmers are increasingly being targeted by attackers and land invaders … precisely because they don’t have the support white farmers do.
Whisky Kgabo, a renowned specialist fruit farmer in the Tzaneen area, has been dealt heavy blows over the past two weeks by land invaders who are threatening to take over his farm.
He believes they are responsible for burning down the majority of his mango trees.
According to Kgabo, farm attacks and invasions are not solely a white farmer’s problem, but that all farms are under attack and black farm workers have not escaped the wrath of the attackers.
He said: “As long as you have a farm or live on a farm, you are not safe.
“Regardless of the colour of your skin. We have had incidences where farm workers are attacked and killed in their sleeping quarters.”
Theo de Jager, president of the World Farmers Organisation, says black farmers – and especially those who are beneficiaries of land restitution or redistribution – are vulnerable because they lack organisational support.
They don’t have money to bring legal challenges to laws like the Extension of Security of Tenure Act, which makes it difficult to evict squatters.
The focus of most of the protests has been on the deaths of white farmers and their families, almost to the exclusion of the suffering of black farmers, their families and farm workers.
All of those who work the land are at risk. That’s a message which needs to be hammered home to the government.
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