'Imagine if it was black people': Julius Malema questions police inaction as protesters attack Free State court
Police minister Bheki Cele calls for the 'armed farmers' to be arrested
EFF leader Julius Malema has questioned the lack of action as violent protesters — believed to be armed white farmers — stormed a Free State court.
The protests came the protesters demanded justice after the killing of 21-year-old farm manager Brandon Horner. Two men were appearing in court in connection with his murder.
“Whites don't play: they are dealing with this clownish government of their puppet @Cyril Ramaphosa. No single rubber bullet shot. Can you imagine if it was black people ... ” he tweeted, along with a video of the protest.
Hours after court property was vandalised and a police van overturned and set alight, police minister Bheki Cele urged officers to arrest those behind the criminality.
Cele said he was shocked and disgusted at the behaviour of the demonstrators — some of them the police minister described as “armed farmers” — outside the Senekal magistrate's court.
“Police reports indicate that after the brief court appearance, about 100 demonstrators, among them armed farmers, stormed into the court building demanding the suspects be handed over.
“This violent act resulted in the vandalism of court property and a police vehicle was also overturned and set alight. Police had to use teargas to disperse the violent group,” according to Cele's spokesperson Lirandzu Themba.
Farm manager Brendin Horner's body was found tied to a farm gate after he was killed by unknown attackers on October 2 2020. The death has outraged agricultural leaders and community members from Senekal and surrounding areas who demanded justice.
Cele described the manner in which Horner was killed as brutal, but said lawlessness was equally not justified.
“While we all condemn the gruesome killing of this young man in Paul Roux, absolutely no-one has the right to take the law into their own hands — no matter what the situation is. This type of lawlessness can't be justified nor taken lightly,” he said.
Images taken from the demonstration were widely circulated on social media. In one of them, a man is seen on top of a police van, seemingly addressing a handful of protesters, while police looked on.
Cele questioned the motive of demonstrators, who he said had turned their anger towards officers.
“There is no logic when these protesters burn a police van, which is the same resource that is meant to assist them. It is also baffling why the anger of this community is being directed towards the police, when arrests have been made by the police and the suspects are before the courts,” he said.
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