State failing in its role to protect farmers, public at large

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel's organisation's call for farmers to take up arms is understandable, the writer says.
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel's organisation's call for farmers to take up arms is understandable, the writer says.
Image: Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images

A few days ago, AfriForum said farmers in SA should be armed to protect themselves and their families from criminals because the police do not have the ability to help them.

In my view, this call is understandable but anomalous if we were to follow the rule of law. If our criminal justice system is silent on this matter, the likelihood is it could escalate to lawlessness which could be catastrophic towards social cohesion and nation building.

Let us keep in mind there are many interventions, bills and other legislation by the government to address land reform and land tenure of black people.

All these initiatives could also fuel fears from farmers, hence I think intervention must be sooner, rather than later. Yes, all of us are concerned about violent crimes that have become uncontainable.

The recent number of farm attacks and murders is telling. The report by the Institute for Security Studies in 2019 shows 552 farm attacks were reported, and 57 were murders. These numbers are disturbing and scary.

I urge agriculture and land reform minister Thoko Didiza, together with the criminal justice system, and chapter 9 institutions, to quickly find ways of dealing with crime on farms.

The rise of civil organisations playing an oversight role over government institutions as a last line of defence in fighting for ordinary citizens against public service delivery failures can also signal that government has abandoned and is failing in its role to protect its citizens.

Rankepile Khomo, Duduza, Nigel

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