Can someone in government please stand up, act decisively, and stop the loss of life? In this exclusive Food For Mzansi opinion piece, Elton Greeve, a Western Cape farmer and managing director of EMG Agri Solutions, pleads with government to act following a recent spike in farm attacks nationwide.
The recent spike in farm attacks is very concerning, disheartening and sad. Murder, crime and its associated consequences is a horrible reflection of the state of our nation; violent crime of any form is despicable and must be dealt with decisively.
As a black, South African farmer, I am concerned by the government’s inept and callous attitude towards farm attacks and murders. It concerns me that our government sees this as a mere part of politicking, rather than a serious and sad pandemic and social-ill gripping our nation.
Farm attacks and murders are not about race, neither are they about politics. It is about the lives of men, women and children who live their lives in fear, who despite this, sacrifice their lives and well-being to feed our nation.
The reference to me being a black farmer is not intended to make this a race issue, but rather detract from the narrative that farm attacks is a “white farmer” problem. It is not! It is a collective one, both affecting black and white farmers and all agricultural workers.
Our farming communities live in fear. What should have been a tranquil rural lifestyle has become one of terror – and that is not what our nation should be about, yet sadly is. We have seen a lot of political grandstanding around this matter, yet extraordinarily little to no action to demonstrate a tangible will to resolve the matter – words don’t resolve problems, actions do.
The inaction of our political leaders is even more discouraging. Our president, Cyril Ramaphosa, remains silent, his minister of police, Bheki Cele, is off at a tangent implementing and policing a ban on cigarettes and alcohol, yet cannot take a firm and tangible stand on the matter of farm attacks. What will it take for our government to seriously act on this? How many more lives must be lost before our president will stand up and say, “Enough is enough”?
We need a caring and responsive government, one that acts and resolves societal problems and doesn’t politicise them. – ELTON GREEVE
As South Africans, we should not have to go to bed following a ritual as if we are at war, making sure alarms are on, security barricades in place, your pistol at your side, your rifle on the ready, two-way radio on your beside table – ready to react at any attempt to compromise your family and neighbouring farmers safety. It is only in war that this happens. We are not at war. We are at the mercy of criminals who find the enabling environment of lax governance, a perfect opportunity to terrorise us, take innocent lives, rape, torture and scar our people. This cannot continue!
‘At the mercy of criminals’
We need a caring and responsive government, one that acts and resolves societal problems and doesn’t politicise them. What will it take for us to have such a caring and responsive government? What will it take for the minister of police to put in place concrete measures that will stop this pandemic? Can someone in government please stand up, act decisively, and stop the loss of life?
I fear for our farmers and their families, but what I fear most is our government’s inability and unwillingness to resolve this matter. Mr President, and Mr Cele, come and visit me, and see for yourself what living in fear means!