AfriForum blames police ‘agents provocateurs’ for Senekal violence

Some of the tough messages by the farmers during their protest in Senekal last week. Pictures: Tracy Lee Stark

Minority rights group claims that a group of strategically placed men were behind the incitement which led to violence, but the police say they must bring evidence.

Police have invited AfriForum to bring their evidence to court, after the minority rights group made allegations that a “small group of agents provocateurs” could be behind last week’s protests outside of the Senekal Magistrates Court in Free State.

Both national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo and police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said they were unaware of the allegations by AfriForum chief executive officer Kallie Kriel in a press release on Tuesday afternoon.

“AfriForum received information that the country’s safety services deployed a small group of agents provocateurs during last week’s protest action in Senekal, to incite violence and in this way discredit the fight against farm murders and the peaceful majority of participants in the protest,” AfriForum said.

The organisation further said it has decided to proceed with the arrangements to hold a peaceful protest action against farm murders and violence in Senekal this coming Friday.

“AfriForum made this decision to ensure that the voice of the peaceful majority, that want to show their anger and dissatisfaction about the acts of terrorism on farms in an organised manner, is not silenced by a small group of instigators and the provocative behaviour of the EFF,” their statement read.

“AfriForum and violence-stricken communities have the absolute right to be enraged by murders such as the one on the young Brendin Horner, but AfriForum believes that it is important that the reasonable case to demand action against farm murders must not be polluted by those who want to discredit the fight against farm murders.”

Kriel said his organisation’s safety teams will have a discussion with other role players, including agricultural structures like the Southern African Agri Initiative and the police, regarding suitable grounds for the protest action and the measures to be taken to prevent groups with other motives to disrupt the protest action.

According to Kriel, the information regarding the supposed agents provocateurs corresponds with the observations of AfriForum’s safety team and other structures during last week’s protest action.

“It was observed that at least five men were placed strategically in the crowd and made inflammatory remarks. These men continuously communicated with each other on their cellphones and some even wore masks completely covering their faces to hide their identity. When a small group incited by this inflammatory behaviour stormed the courtroom, these men ran to their vehicles and drove away,” Kriel said.

Naidoo said if AfriForum has what they claim to have, we want to encourage them to open a case in this regard or they may also present this in court during the current ongoing case.

He said the police have a suspect in custody and they are confident that the suspect has a case to answer to.

“We also cannot rule out the possibility that more arrests, in this case, will be made,” said Naidoo.

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