‘We want to occupy the land,’ says EFF’s Malema at Senekal farm murder protest

Economic Freedom Fighter leader Julius Malema said outside the Senekal magistrate’s court on Friday that the EFF members were protesting there because they want black people to own land in South Africa. 

“Let me tell you why we are here. These white boers are not here because of the farm murders, they are here to use this farm murder to address the issue of the land,” said Malema. “They think they can use this farm murder to intimidate us. Stop [us] talking about the land and move away from demanding the land.”   

Other groups were also protesting on the streets of Senekal in the eastern Free State on Friday, where racial tensions had flared last week during the first appearance of two men arrested in connection with the murder of Brendan Horner. Protesters vandalised court property and set a police van alight.

The  21-year-old farm manager was murdered on 2 October. He was attacked, stabbed and tied to a gate 400m from his home on a farm in the Paul Roux area. 

The two accused, Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, are residents of Takalatse in Fateng-Tse-Ntsho township in Paul Roux. They have denied any involvement in the murder and their bail application has been postponed to Tuesday. 


Outside the court, lobby group AfriForum also staged a “peaceful protest action against farm terror”. 

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said in a statement on Thursday that the organisation has the right to be furious about murders such as that of Horner. “AfriForum believes that it is important that the fair cause of claiming action against farm murders is not polluted by those who want to bring the fight against farm murders into disfavour.” 

The EFF staged their protest to protect the state institutions from “white terrorists”. Malema said his party will never stop talking about the land.  “We want to move onto the land, we want to occupy the land, we want to produce food for ourselves. We don’t want white farmers’ food — we have capacity to produce food for ourselves.” 

The party wants equality, which will happen when black people own land, banks and mines, he added.

Police visibility was heightened. One person was arrested after being found in possession of an illegal firearm at a roadblock just outside Senekal early on Friday morning.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, who was at the court, said that what is happening in Senekal “is not a picnic”.

The South African Human Right Commission has called for peace, saying that “the constitutional right to protest be exercised within the ambit of the Constitution and the law. The commission insists that the heightened tensions based on race and social status are of no benefit to the social cohesion that South Africa’s peace and stability are dependent on.”

In a video posted on the Democratic Alliance’s Twitter page, the party’s leader, John Steenhuisen, said scenes in Senekal should be “a wake-up call for all of us”.

He said the DA has heard the pleas and plights of the farmers, and they are working hard to ensure they can improve safety and security in rural areas for farmers, farm workers and other members of these communities.  

“Now it’s the time for us to unite and come together. There is no left or right, there is only up and down and if we are going to beat the scourge of farm attacks and violence in our rural areas, we need to unite together and face these criminals head on,” he said.

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe is a financial trainee journalist at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

DA leader bought wife a car with ‘corruption’ earnings

Senior Ekurhuleni councillor Shabangu purchased a Ford SUV from an alleged R1.2-million kickback

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Two MECs fail to understand their harmful blunders

The Western Cape’s Debbie Schäfer missed the point about racism and the North West’s Mmaphefo Matsemela undermined the dignity of a young man

Editorial: Desperately seeking an opposition

All the contenders are deeply flawed, losing support, or both

DA zips lip on shadowy graft case

The party has allegedly ignored reports of kickbacks and claims of sexual harassment to protect a top councillor

‘Let ANC deal with its leaders facing corruption charges,’ Ramaphosa tells parliament

The president was answering questions before parliament, where he also told the EFF to allow the courts to decide on the matter of the CR17 bank statements
Advertising

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

Zuma maintains his true colours at Zondo commission

The former president’s escapades at the commission of inquiry into state capture are a far cry from Nelson Mandela’s response when summonsed to testify in the high court

Gordhan tells Zondo how Moyane wanted to advance the objectives...

The public enterprises minister is being cross-examined by Tom Moyane’s lawyers at the state capture inquiry, as both men seek to defend their reputations

Burundian refugees in Tanzania face increasing danger

Human Rights Watch has documented cases of Burundian refugees being tortured and forcibly returned by Tanzanian authorities

Exclusive: Top-secret testimonies implicate Rwanda’s president in war crimes

Explosive witness testimony from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda implicates Paul Kagame and the RPF in mass killings before, during and after the 1994 genocide.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…