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South Africa - CRIME AND THE NEW YORK BLUNDER

Crime in South Africa and particularly farm murders is now internationalised. Comments emanate from far and wide. Social media has put paid to the ANC’s hopes that their shenanigans will go unnoticed, and while T-shirts and food hampers may sway their hapless followers, the world out there knows what’s going on. It took some time, but the penny has finally dropped.

President Ramaphosa’s gaffe during his recent visit to the United Nations in New York revealed a president either out of touch or simply lying through his teeth. His fabrication wasn’t an off-the-cuff aside in a corridor: it was during an interview with Bloomberg, a major global provider of 24-hour financial news and information and one of the most important financial institutions in the world. Bloomberg has 327 000 subscribers for its professional services, almost one million global circulations of Bloomberg Business Week and over 150 news bureaux internationally. What you say to Bloomberg matters – it travels around the globe in a matter of seconds and it lands on the desks of important people: investors, government advisors and CEO’s of the world’s top corporations.

Unfortunately for the president, he was caught on video. There are no ambiguities about video: there he was pontificating about President Donald Trump being “clearly misinformed”, followed by an astounding statement: “There are no killings of white farmers in South Africa and there are no land grabs in South Africa”.


The video went viral in South Africa. Some tried to excuse him (there will always be apologists for politicians in power!). They said the president spoke “out of context”. These defenders simply sank into Mr. Ramaphosa’s quagmire. The lie was there for all to see and hear.

He “lied through his teeth” declared TAU SA president Louis Meintjes. He did not “misspeak”, nor did he tell an “untruth”. There was no “out of context”. Only last year he told the SA parliament: “We condemn the farm killings that continue to take place in our country, because we can never justify any form of taking a life. The farm killings must come to an end.” He meant what he said because he said it. The president is often described as a “measured speaker”, not one to rush in or talk hastily off the cuff. He elocutes quite slowly, as he did recently in New York.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission presents the eleventh session on Minority Rights in Geneva at the end of November this year. TAU SA is of the opinion that this theme has reference to “landlessness” which is facing South African farmers and other land owners should the SA government’s policy of expropriation without compensation begin. TAU SA will attend this commission and present a paper.

South Africans are used to “food on tap”. Supermarkets are replete with the world’s best food, at excellent prices. Extra large eggs sell at R2 each and top quality avocadoes go for R3.50 each. Our meat is world famous for taste and quality, as are our vegetables. The president and millions of others take the production of SA’s commercial agriculturalists for granted. They probably never give a thought to those farmers who get up every morning not knowing if they will survive the next 24 hours.

FARM MURDERS

During the viral circulation of President Ramaphosa’s deceitful pronouncement, it was reported that eight farm attacks occurred from September 21 to 28. These happened all over the country. According to figures issued by TAU SA, since 1990, 1977 farmers or their workers were murdered, and there were 4790 attacks. This is up to and including mid September 2018. The annual figures have remained fairly consistent during this period, with spikes in 1998 (104 murders), 2002 (119 murders), 2004 (115 murders) and 2017 (82 murders).

It is believed Mr. Mike Pompeo, the United States’ Secretary of State, has been instructed by President Donald Trump to investigate farm murders and the general crime situation in South Africa.

Mr. Pompeo formerly headed the CIA and now runs the State Department. It is interesting to read his own department’s 2018 warning to US citizens about crime in South Africa. It is thorough, detailed and all-encompassing. It could actually serve as a general warning to all South African citizens. It ranges from CRITICAL-THREAT locations such as Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town, to the numerous no-go areas within the country. It says “violent crime remains an ever-present threat in SA.”

It described as “common” crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, carjacking, home invasions, property theft, smash and grabs and ATM robberies. “Armed robbery is the most prevalent major crime”, says the report, most often involving hand guns or knives.

Of particular concern to the State Department, with regard to US citizens in South Africa, are home invasion robberies and the accompanying violence. This includes farm attacks which are by definition mostly in the farmhouses. “Victims who resist or fail to comply with demands may be killed or seriously injured”, says the State Department report.

The report adds financial and cyber theft, the dangers of walking in quiet tourist areas and in townships (specific locations are prohibited for US citizens), road safety and poorly marked and maintained roads and vehicles, bribes asked by traffic policemen, the high rate of fatal traffic accidents, and that a GPS could sometimes direct travellers to “dangerous neighbourhoods”.

The warnings go on and on – ten long pages: the pilferage of luggage at airports, following airline passengers home and robbing them, fake “police officers” who pull motorists over at gunpoint, ethnic violence, unrestrained and disruptive civil unrest. (In the 2016/17 SAPS reporting year there were 10,978 peaceful demonstrations and an additional 3 715 violent demonstrations. This averages around 40 per day.)

The country’s wildcat strikes are highlighted – these lead to destruction of property and assaults, resulting in “numerous deaths, injuries and extensive property damage”, says the report.

Law enforcement is not good. While shops are looted, “the police have been videoed standing idly by. Citizens of other African countries are murdered, and the perpetrators are seldom successfully prosecuted.” Nothing goes unmentioned in this American report: pollution, environmental hazards, a crumbling infrastructure, the relentless theft of copper wire and cables, police detention and harassment and street level shakedowns for money. “South Africa is the largest market for illicit drugs in sub-Saharan Africa and serves as a trans-shipment point for cocaine and heroin, primarily destined for Europe”. The South Africa we knew is now unrecognisable.

TERRIFYING

The savagery of crime is a terrifying phenomenon. The atrocities perpetrated on farms now fill books. In many cases, only a cell phone is taken. One episode graphically illustrates this feral trend: three former employees broke into a home south of Johannesburg. They assaulted and shot dead the father, then raped and killed his wife. They tied up the sobbing son and pushed him into a bath of boiling hot water to drown him. According to the accused in court, they “mutually raped the wife and restrained her by ‘standing on her face’”. The family dog was disembowelled.

How does this tie in with the fulsome media praise of the SA president’s “new dawn”? His United Nations lie about farm murders reveals a daunting level of delusion. He never publicly refers to the remorseless and merciless crime perpetrated on his fellow citizens. He ignores the farm barbarity, the sewage in the streets, the pollution of our water and the demolition of our infrastructure by mindless mobs. There is virtually no law and order.

SA is beginning to resemble those countries to the north where the big man pretends to rule, makes sure his party will win the next election, rewards the faithful with jobs and patronage while his country slips into anarchy. The SA president has no thought of replacing the incompetents and thieves infecting local government, even though the collapse is blatant and catastrophic. He needs to stay in power, and he can’t upset too many applecarts.

Gareth van Onselen told the recent TAU SA annual congress that “the rule of law is, for the most part, what holds anarchy at bay. When it is eroded, chaos can spread and multiply. And there is every indication that, today, the rule of law is at the weakest it has been for a long time. South Africa is now home to its own form of gigantism, only it has little to do with building or construction; rather, destruction and the depth and breadth of our collective descent”.

Despite this, South Africans are gratefully overjoyed at the appointment of yet another ANC minister of finance, and everything’s going to be fine. He has “saved the day” according to some media. Fish rots from the head and no manner of shuffling the Titanic deck chairs in the SA government will make much difference. Says van Onselen: “When a government is not in control, when there is no growth and contemporary emergencies define your programme of action, the future very quickly becomes the present. The government cannot invest in the future, for it is too busy holding the present together”. 

The prescience of so many people who years ago warned of the oncoming ANC peril is yet another example of whether prescience is a gift or a curse. This point is of course academic now. Nobody was listening, and we have reaped the whirlwind. Our president is unambiguously ANC, and he should be judged on that party’s record, not on his latest patch-up cabinet appointment.

The Bulletin attached hereto is provided as a means to inform stakeholders of agricultural developments in South Africa. These International Bulletins are distributed at regular intervals and can also be found on TAU SA’s website at www.tlu.co.za.


TAU SA is the oldest agricultural union in South Africa and has been in existence since 1897. The mission of the union is to ensure a productive and safe existence for its members on the land they own. Current reality in South Africa indicates that this is not possible at the moment due to a variety of actions and threats against commercial farmers.


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