Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
2003 - June 2009:
- ► April (10)
- ► March (9)
- ► November (15)
- ► October (15)
- ► September (8)
- ► August (13)
- ► July (14)
- ► June (20)
- ► May (30)
- ► April (29)
- ► March (30)
- ► February (37)
- ► December (34)
- ► November (41)
- ► October (38)
- ► September (41)
- ► August (42)
- ► July (60)
- ► June (60)
- ► May (81)
- ► April (63)
- ► March (78)
- ► February (90)
- ► January (80)
- ► December (91)
- ► November (73)
- ► October (51)
- ► September (54)
- ► August (49)
- ► July (62)
- ► June (57)
- ► May (93)
- ► April (68)
- ► March (74)
- ▼ Feb 03 (2)
- ► January (95)
- ► December (124)
- ► November (96)
- ► October (117)
- ► September (120)
- ► August (71)
- ► July (83)
- ► June (61)
- ► May (46)
- ► April (56)
- ► March (48)
- ► February (30)
- ► December (59)
- ► November (48)
- ► October (54)
- ► September (43)
- ► August (15)
- ► July (13)
- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Carte Blanche TV recently reported about the tremendous stress commercial farmers are being placed under in KwaZulu. They interviewed attacked farmer Colin de Gaspary, a Midwest farmer whose life has been turned into a nightmare by illegal squatters on his farm. TV’s investigative journalist Carol Albertyn Christie and its presenter Bongani Bingwa also interviewed the Landless Peoples’ Organisation and various Land Affairs officials. Their conclusion: Zimbabe-style farm invasions are inevitable…
Colin de Gaspary (interviewed Midwest farmer on Carte-Blanche TV): 'I want my future to be here - this is my dream. I have always dreamt of living in this country and farming and I'm trying to live my dream. That is what I am trying to do.'
For Colin de Gaspary, who has been living in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands for the past 11 years, that dream remains elusive. For now it's more like a nightmare. His life, he says, is being threatened by people who have unlawfully settled on his farm.
He was brutally attacked one evening when he was burning a firebreak on his farm. Colin: 'I was surrounded by seven of them, and tried to talk my way out of it. And the next minute the blows just came from all directions. They hit me with sticks and one of them had a metal pole. And they split my skull, broke my nose, two blue eyes, broke my finger, chipped my elbow.'
Bongani Bingwa (Carte Blanche presenter): 'What was the intention? To scare you?”
- Colin: 'The intention was to kill me. The rumour the next day in the valley was, 'The mulungu (white man) got rocks in his head because we hit him so hard and he wouldn't fall on the ground’. And I refused to fall - I stood my ground. And that is the reason I'm alive today.'
The conflict in the Midlands, a fertile farming area, goes back many decades and is being made worse by the government's land redistribution policy, Carte Blanche reported.
Department of Land Affairs are the instigators with their Land for All promises
- Colin: 'I think Land Affairs are the instigators in this. Land Affairs made these people promises that they couldn't keep. And they are the people that are stirring the pot.'
'Land for All' is a promise that has been echoed by the ruling party at every election since 1994. But 15 years on, not all have found the Valhalla they believe they were promised.
2.000 hectares of land for 300 black owners… but only 105 hectares are arable, and they can only make a profit of R52 a year...
Bongani: 'So does everyone here expect to be given land by Land Affairs?' Jabulane Magbane (Land Owner): 'Exactly. We went to the polling stations to cast our votes because we were hoping that we were going to get land.'
- Jabulane Magubane is spokesman for a community of people who have been recipients of the land redistribution process near Craigie Burn Dam (a former commercial dairy) in the Midlands. Bongani: 'It is a bittersweet victory for the people of this community. Of the 2,000 or so hectares of land that they have been given, only 105 are arable. And with 300 owners, one wonders whether any profit can be made.'
They are hoping government will give them a further R3-million to start farming the land. The business plan however shows that although community workers will be paid for their labour, they each stand to make a profit of only R52 a year. Bongani: 'Do you think people are going to be satisfied with R52? I mean, they now own a farm.' Jabulane: 'No, I don't think so.' Bongani: 'How frustrated are people here with all the issues they are facing?' Jabulane: 'In fact, I must say, they don't trust Land Affairs at all. Even though their hope lies with Land Affairs.'
The (white) farmers too do not trust Land Affairs. Before Willem Verhoef bought his farm he negotiated with local residents and Land Affairs and it was agreed that residents would be given 60 hectares. According to Willem, once he signed the purchase agreement the residents were unhappy with just 60 hectares and wanted Land Affairs to buy the whole farm for them. During this impasse they have made farming very difficult for him.
- William Verhoef (Farmer): 'In the past three years, I've opened 32 cases at the police station.'
Bongani: 'For what?' William: 'Cutting of fences - the day before Christmas, 14m of fencing was cut; burning my farm down; destroying a house...'
For safety reasons, Willem does not live on the farm. So at night the house gets stripped, piece by piece. Willem: 'They are trying to make the farm ungovernable.' Bongani: 'So you are saying, they thought that if you left, they would get the farm?' Willem: 'Land Affairs would buy the land for them, as they have bought other properties in the area. And the more pressure they put on me, the higher the probability that I will sell to them.'
Deputy director for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Mdu Shabane:
- Bongani: 'What do you say to the charge that half of the Land Reform projects have failed?'
Mdu Shabane : 'Indeed we found that 49% of those projects were in distress, but 33% of them were doing quite well.'
Bongani: 'But still, 33% as a success rate is a shockingly low number.'
Mdu: 'I can tell you, the apartheid state started a whole lot of agricultural projects...'
Bongani: 'With respect, we are not talking about the apartheid government's programme. We are talking about the programme that is being instituted by this government. You're telling me that 33% is an acceptable number?'
Mdu: 'I'm not saying that 33% as a figure is acceptable. I'm saying that our own study told us that 49% were in need...'
Bongani: 'So clearly, it's not working. Your programme is not working.'
Mdu: 'I think one thing. I don't think we can say the programme per se is not working. When we did this analysis we came to a conclusion that there was some kind of support that these people needed, which they did not receive.'
Gcino Tshabalala (Co-ordinator - Landless Peoples Organisation): 'The things happening in Zimbabwe, you are going to see it here, because of the way that Land Affairs is behaving.' Gcingo Tshabalala is the Co-ordinator of the Landless People in the area.
Many are concerned about how these unproductive farms will impact on future food security. Craigie Burn was once a very productive dairy. Then the farm was bought by Land Affairs and given to the Zibukwe Trust. Siphiso Majola is one of the 100 or so people who now own the farm.
- Bongani: 'How do you feel about things now? I mean, you have all this land and you've got the farm - but nothing is happening.'
Sifiso Majola (Zibukwe Trust member): 'We are so hurt because, before we were not hungry and there was no stealing. We have been given the land, but there is nothing we can do with it.'
- Bongani: 'This community confirms one of the worst stereotypes about our government. The promise was to give this dairy back to the people, and that has happened. But now that it is in the hands of a community without resources, without support, without training, it is standing derelict.'
Although community members now own land, they are poorer than when they were employed as labourers by the former owner. Gcino: 'How are you going to work without cows? It is not going to work without cows. That's the biggest problem we have.'
Farmer Gavin Hill leased land from the Zibukwe Trust and planted cabbages. He paid his rent every month to Zibukwe Trust head Maureen Magubane. But the community says the trust never received it.
- Gcino: 'There is some money missing from the trust. It's about R40 000 - R60 000, as far as I understand.'
Gavin Hill intervened on behalf of his staff and regrets it to this day. Gavin Hill and his partner Donna Lay woke up to the smell of burning in their 150-year-old farm house. Within 20 minutes, this was all that was left.
Donna Lay (Horse breeder): 'Forensics shows that there was either paraffin or petrol used that they'd thrown onto the roof, and set it up. It's heart-breaking. It was a beautiful home, and now it's all gone, taken away.'
- Gavin: 'We're alive. If the intention was to kill us, they didn't succeed. It was virtually four weeks to the day, prior to this, our neighbour who was visiting us got shot. If one compares Alan Row to the burning of our house, I would say we got off quite lightly.'
- Bongani: 'But it must still be hard?'
Donna: 'It is very hard. It'll never be the same.'
In a telephonic interview with Maureen Magubane, she confirmed that her husband and son were arrested in connection with the fire, but says they have an alibi. She denies misappropriating trust funds.
Bongani: 'It's hard to think of these attacks as isolated incidents. Alan was murdered just down the road. Gavin's house was burnt right over here. And Colin was attacked to within an inch of his life, just over the hill. And the real question is, if the community's high expectations are not fulfilled, what is going to happen?'
Deputy director Shabane feels his department has the ability to get land redistribution back on track and to calm the situation.
- Bongani: 'But government has failed to provide leadership, you cannot even sort out the Zibuka Trust issue?'
Mdu: 'But you see, you can't benchmark the performance of the entire programme of government just on Zibuka...'
Bongani: 'But it is a prime example of what has gone wrong. You definitely are not providing leadership, and that is why we will see Zim-style invasions.'
Mdu: 'I think that is unacceptable. I think you have no basis to come to that conclusion. Just having been twice or thrice on one farm and you come to this conclusion and say that government has failed to give leadership. You are not even aware how many other problems we have sorted out. Indeed, there will be those that stick out, and Zibuka happens to be one of them. I don't expect it to be the last one - there will be many more in the future, and I think the more we engage with them, the more we should be able to find solutions going into the future.'
Bongani: 'What will happen if these issues are not addressed?'
- Gavin: 'There could be more murders. Un-lawlessness will prevail.'
Bongani: 'Why don't you just walk away, give it up?'
Willem: 'I love this country, I love farming - why must I just up and leave? It will not be to my benefit, nor will it be to the benefit of the people living on the farm at the present moment.' http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Article.aspx?Id=3766&ShowId=3
The issue over the ‘redistribution’ of South Africa’s scarce commercial farm land – only 6 percent of the entire land-surface can be used for food-cropping -- to ‘previously disadvantaged’ people without any farming knowledge, continues to plague the South African agricultural sector, a benchmark survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) has found.
Business Report writes that farmers in the PwC survey said the great many failed ‘land-redistribution’ projects were the key reasons for the ANC-regime’s unsuccessful land reform policy.
According to Johan Rossouw, an economist at Vunani Securities, many farmers had made land available to the mostly inexperienced ‘emerging farmers’ in an effort to hasten land reform – but that the [ ‘emergent farmers’] lack of farming-skills continue to puncture these efforts.
- "Everyone lost in this instance," said Rossouw. "The farmer is not going to spend money on the ‘reformed’ land and the emerging farmer still needs the skills."
The PwC survey found that ‘failed projects led to a great percentage of formerly productive land now contributing little or nothing to agricultural production.’
According to Kobie Bekker, PwC's national leader for agribusiness, the fact that the agricultural sector earned 44% more for the 18 months to September last year – was mainly due to the fact that people had to eat. “Agriculture meets a basic human need, which meant the impact of the international financial crisis was not as negative as on other businesses, such as luxury goods and the financial services sector.”
"However, the variability in the prices of grain and other agricultural products, combined with the abnormal increases in input costs (especially the soaring electricity rates) has resulted in many producers finding themselves in a difficult situation," Bekker said. Bekker said that the 16 survey participants, who are geographically spread out across the country, had indicated their concern about the producer's income not keeping up with the rising production costs.
- According to the survey, the agricultural sector faces several risks, including a very unsafe working environment because of the large number of armed attackers targetting farmers – together with a lack of financial support (for the new farmers).
Business Report also writes that ‘agricultural unions and members of the agricultural community also took to task the Minister for Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, for stating [inaccurately ] that ‘local farmers used to chase black tenants away, resulting in the creation of "Haiti-like settlements".
"There is a huge concern that Sexwale's comments could cause security breaches [i.e. increase in the numbers of attacks on commercial farmers]," Van der Merwe said. (My comment: about two white farmers a week now are murdered, and always by gangs of young black males who torture their victims extensively before murdering them. Story below). http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?from=rss_&fArticleId=5336656
Picture left: White commercial farmers have good reason to worry about such inciting statements from government officials: they get little to no protection from the SAPS, which this week also hit the headlines with their massive, public, drunken bash in Bloemfontein, when 50,000 of the 117,000 SA cops were pulled off duty and forced to attend the National Police Day celebrations. In 2008, South Africa imported $206-m ‘s worth of expensive whiskey from the UK, which gives an indication of the high-living lifestyle of the ruling ANC-elite… http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/01/tens-of-thousands-of-sa-cops-in-drunken.html
As a result of this failed land-reform policy, South Africa ‘s total self-reliance in food-production also took a rapid nose-dive after 1994: the country now needs to import large quantities of staplefoods from off-continent, drawing mainly from the Argentinian and Brazilian agricultural sectors for its grains and chicken imports – urgently needed to feed the rapidly-growing, now 50-million strong population.
In 2008, South Africa imported $15-m ‘s worth of grains from Canada; a combined $446-m’s worth of rice from Thailand and grain from Argentina; also one amazing statistic indicating the heavy drinking going on in the country’s high society, is the importation of $206-million’s worth of whiskies from the United Kingdom. Other imports: $312-million ‘s worth of soybean-oilcake (livestock feed) from Argentina; and $152m’s worth of chicken-cuts from Brazil.
Because of the low local supply and the large consumer demand, food prices in some staples such as maize, rice, flour and meat also have more than doubled or even tripled since 2002. http://www.ats-sea.agr.gc.ca/stats/5212-eng.htm
Just some recorded examples of failed land reform projects:
These are the conditions under which a handful of white commercial farmers have to produce food for 50-million people in South Africa:
Their article, headlined “Afrikaner Boers left in the lurch’. states that two farmers a week are murdered on average and that the Agri-SA farmers’ lobby has rung the alarm-bell, warning that the rural security plan – ( launched in 1999) -- doesn’t work.’
The Gineke Mons article in Trouw describes the trial in Senekal of Petrus Ndaba, 29 and comrade Pule Jacob Mpanyane, 22, suspected of last year’s murders of the elderly farm couple Koos and Retha van Zyl – shot dead with their own shotgun after he had tortured the couple on a meat-hook on January 5 2009. http://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/wereld/article2976849.ece/Afrikaner_boeren_in_de_steek_gelaten_.html
Van Zyl (63) and his wife Retha (66), a much loved local teacher who had just retired, were ‘slaughtered like animals’ on their farm Poortjie in the Free State. Both were first attacked and cruelly mutilated with a meathook, and then shot dead with their own shotgun, said police. Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha described the scene at the time as “absolute carnage’ after paramedics arrived. It was the second farm attack in the Odendaalsrust district that week.
Ndaba was arrested while fleeing in their daughter Marietjie’s red Chevrolet Avea sedan with a stolen sheep. Sergeant Majang Mosupa of the Free State police said Mrs Van Zyl had apparently gone outside to turn on the electricity generator when she was attacked. It is suspected that the attacker, a former labourer who was fired for stealing from the couple only a day earlier, had apparently turned off the generator off to her outside. Mr Van Zyl, who was frail and very ill, was then attacked in the kitchen with a meathook which slashed open his neck and head, said Mosupa, while Mrs Van Zyl, who had also been attacked several times with the meathook, then was tied up and dragged through the homestead. The couple then both were shot in their chests with a shotgun.
Pictures: in the same week when the trial of Van Zyl couple’s murderers started, a violent demonstration also took place in the Viljoenskroon area against the ANC regime’s so-named ‘poor service delívery,’ and an Afrikaner farm-wife called Theresa, picture far left, was cruelly attacked, tortured with a panga and raped. It’s amazing that she survived the ordeal. http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/01/farm-attacks-jan-27-2010.html and http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/01/leading-citizens-murdered-attacked-jan.html
Trouw writes: “White farm families and smallholders on the South African ‘platteland’ have been terrorised for years by violent attacks. Farmers union AgriSA, which represents about 90 percent of the 45,000 (?) commercial white farmers, estimates an average of 750 to 800 farm attacks a year during which about 100 people are murdered.
“Some Afrikaner groups refer to this as a ‘white genocide’ but Agri-SA does not want to go that far, claiming instead that farmers and smallholders are ‘soft targets,’ writes Trouw, quoting André Botha, who heads the organisation’s security department, as repeating the same old ANC-saw, namely that: “Farmers live in remote areas and usually have guns, money and cars. Attackers know that it takes a long time on these rural farms before police arrives after an emergency call.’
Trouw quotes the University of Pretoria’s 2008 investigation of 37 convicted farm-murderers, noting that on average, each one of them had carried out an average of 105 violent crimes before they were even caught. And police statistics overall show that from all the reported crimes, only 12 percent ever end up in a conviction.
Trouw quotes Unisa-criminologist Dawie Swart, who says the detective investigations by the SAPS are ‘pathetic. Ever since the takeover by the ANC-government, inexperienced, untrained black people have been appointed in police post and a great deal of expertise, knowledge was lost in this process’.
Trouw also reports about the pre-1994 commando system, when the SAPS worked with local defence-force volunteers who knew the area well. However when the ANC gained hegemony, the commandos cooperation with the SAPS were ended.
“To fill the vacuum, Agri-SA developed an alternative rural security system with the government,’ Trouw reports. “The rural areas were split into sector-policing areas and the police was supposed to be assisted by patrolling police-reservists in each sector. These police-reservists were civilians, often farmers, and were given brief military training and given similar (arrest) authority to the SAPS.”
Botha says the sector-policing plan for rural areas, which was launched in1999, does not function well in many places. “There are too many police officers not doing their jobs, and who are never corrected for not doing their work. The rotten apples don’t get fired. This infects the entire policing system. Agri-SA has been trying to raise this issue with the Police Minister for the past two years but we get no reactions,’ said Botha.
“Farmers and smallholdings feel marginalised because there is no attention for their unsafe situation. And this while the commercial farmers keep the rural areas afloat financially. If they disappear, development in our rural areas will collapse. The commercial farmer is the key to a South Africa with a future, or a country which will glide into a country like Zimbabwe,’ warns Botha.
Trouw ‘s article ends with a quote from a black farmer and neighbour of the murdered Senekal couple, April Modibedi. „We worked together for a long time. He was a good man. Whenever I had lost a sheep, he helped me in the search to find it back again.”… .http://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/wereld/article2976849.ece/Afrikaner_boeren_in_de_steek_gelaten_.html
- cops who don’t do their jobs: http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-does-metro-sergeant-afford-lush.html
- who are the cops, who are the thugs? http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/01/who-are-cops-who-are-thugs.html
- cops who don’t do their jobs: the failure to investigate the Boshoff family farm attack: http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2010/01/boshoff-family-farm-attack-details.html
- Tens of thousands of cops in drunken bash Jan 29 2010: Tens of thousands of SA cops in drunken bash
- white poverty in SA growing: BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7526158.stm
- The Great South African Land Scandal: http://greatsalandscandal.blogspot.com/