A senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, confirmed in Johannesburg on Monday that farm attacks were motivated by racial hatred.
“There are allegations of race and politics being the motivation but these cannot be substantiated,” Johan Burger claimed initially, but had to concede that farm murders exploded when when former president Thabo Mbeki phased out the commando’s for purely racist reasons.
Burger, who was speaking at an SA Human Rights Commission hearing on safety and security in farming communities, said farmers became vulnerable when former president Thabo Mbeki ditched the idea of safety for white farmers.
While trying to defend the black attackers, Burger actually made a strong case for the white victims.
“There was a feeling that the commandos were an extension of right-wing groups and that blacks were under-represented in them. There was also a perception that the commandos were concerned only about the safety of white people,” he said, confirming that neither whites nor conservative groups have the right to safety.
Burger said farm attacks were always vicious.
But he also claimed that the intention of the assailants was usually simply to steal cash and goods, when black attackers almost never steal anything except cellphones which make it difficult for surviving victims to call for help.
In instances in which attackers used racist language, Burger said, it could be just “tough talk”.
“They are motivated by greed and not politics or race,” he insisted, trying to minimize the clear evidence of racial hatred that mark the attacks.
ANC police commissioner Riah Phiyega declared that “poor adherence to labour laws” and “unsatisfactory labour relations” were a “contributory factor” in farm attacks, while conveniently ignoring ANC leaders who chant “kill a boer” at mass meetings.
The commissioner thus reiterated popular threats by the ANC to confiscate white property justified by a set of baseless claims.
“Some of the workers are not registered and are illegal immigrants and it becomes difficult to track some of the people during police investigations,” she said, also forgetting that the country has an open-border policy thanks to her party’s policies.
Police were no longer classifying crimes taking place on farms separately, in trying to hide the racist scourge that white farmers have to suffer.
Howard Mbana, a Food and Allied Workers’ Union representative, said farmworkers were still subjected to abuse by their bosses.
“There is widespread violation of farmworkers’ rights by farm owners. Workers still suffer from beatings and insults on a regular basis. Farmworkers live in conditions of indignity and slavery; animals live better,” said Mbana.
He could, as per usual, give no examples of the alleged abuse.