In a long YouTube video, AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets announces his intention of sending President Cyril Ramaphosa his own hand-delivered copy of his recent book Kill the Boer, before proceeding to read long chapters from the book “in an attempt to hold” the president “accountable”.
Roets says, helpfully: “I took the liberty of adding some sticky-notes and to highlight certain sections of the book for your convenience in the event that you regard reading the entire book as undeserving of your time.”
He also explains that the book “took three years to write” seemingly in the hope that if Ramaphosa was not yet convinced he should read the book, this information would sway him.
Roets says he wants people to make the video go viral so the “president takes note of the crisis and cannot claim ignorance as an excuse for not acting”.
Whether or not Ramaphosa will change his policies based on the lobby group’s YouTube video remains to be seen.
Roets takes Ramaphosa to task for saying, during an interview on Bloomberg, that “there are no killings of white farmers in South Africa”. Later, in the same video, he also said there were no land grabs.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko reacted to the backlash these comments faced by saying: “It is very unfortunate that anyone would want to deliberately distort the president’s remarks which were in direct response to ‘large-scale killing of farmers’‚ a characterisation everyone knows holds no truth in South Africa.”
The president also read out a statement in parliament, which Roets repeats in the video in full.
“My comment during an interview with Bloomberg on 26 September 2018 was in response to a tweet by US President Donald Trump which stated there are large-scale killings of farmers in South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
“As I indicated in the interview and as I continue to maintain, this statement is incorrect and misinformed. Throughout South Africa, violent crime is a serious concern, regardless of where it occurs or whom it affects.”
He then read out the police crime stats, concluding that “approximately 21,000 murders took place in South Africa in 2017/2018 of which 62 murders occurred in farms and smallholdings which translates to approximately 0.3% of the total number of murders”.
He went on to condemn all murders, “including of farmers and farm workers”.
“It is clear from your statement that was evidently written by your advisers that your advisers do not grasp the extent of the crisis,” says Roets.
“Debating the statistics as you have attempted to do is one thing, it is however a small aspect of the true extent of the crisis and only one-quarter of the argument as to why farm attacks should be regarded as a priority crime.
“Farm attacks and murders constitute a unique crime with unique and far-reaching consequences which justifies a counter strategy.
“Your denial of the extent of the crisis implies that you have not even taken the first step to addressing the crisis which is acknowledging the crisis in the first place,” he continues.
While the fact that farm murders and attacks occur is not up for debate, whether or not farmers are any more targeted than other South Africans is a matter of contention. AfriForum’s stats have been questioned by Africa Check, who found they have “flaws“, and the lobby group has clashed with AgriSA over their stats, which recently claimed, in contrast with AfriForum’s, that farm murders were at their lowest in 20 years.
Recent police stats have also been cited by some as a sign that there is no “white genocide,” as groups including the Black Monday protest movement have alleged. AfriForum themselves deny using the term.
But while some have alleged there is a racial agenda behind the highlighting of one form of crime above the rest, others such as AfriForum and their support base, believe farm murders in SA are “disproportionately high“.
While AfriForum has so far been unable to convince the SA president to prioritise farm murders, they have taken credit for influencing US President Donald Trump about them.