“ANARCHY IS not the answer to rule of law concerns,” says the worried former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to lobby group AfriForum.
This follows the lobby group’s response in the outrage that sparked the sleepy dorpie of Senekal in the Free State province, following the murder of a farmer Brendin Horner by two suspects who appeared in Court Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44.
Horner (21) was murdered last week and his body found tied to a pole.
The murder sparked outrage among agricultural leaders and community members from Senekal and surrounding areas who demanded justice.
Over the past few days, the town erupted in chaos as a police vehicle was set alight and court property was damaged.
AfriForum’s head of policy and action, Ernst Roets, said the solution to farm murders was two-sided.
“The message of farm murders must be spread to the ends of the earth and taken to the council chambers of the UN to ensure that the international community takes note,” said Roets.
“The second part of the solution — which is even more important — is for people to realise that the government will not solve the crisis. Communities must rather become the solution themselves by joining community safety structures to enable them to look after their own safety.”
He said community members expressed sympathy and compassion, but they were also furious about the situation in the country.
“The fury that the people expressed is the consequence of the cruelty of a problem that simply persists, coupled with government’s lackadaisical attitude towards farm murders,” Roets said.
This prompted the former PP to respond by reminding AfriForum that justifying violence and destroying public property in Senekal was not the way to go.
“Dear AfriForum, your valid concerns about levels of violence affecting your members do not justify violating the law and destroying public property in Senekal,” she said.
“Is the South Africa you want to live in one of self-help by all? Anarchy is not the answer to rule of law concerns.”
Meanwhile, a strong police presence was in place at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Friday where a farmer is expected to appear after a fiery protest this week.
Roads leading to the court were barricaded with police tape and nyalas. Armed officers with vehicles stood close to the court and a police helicopter hovered nearby.
The 52-year-old farmer was arrested on Wednesday and is charged with malicious damage to property and public violence. He was allegedly part of a group “demanding justice” after 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner was murdered.
The protesters overturned and set alight a police van outside court where two men were appearing in connection with Horner’s death.
Police said at the time that an “unruly group” of farmers stormed the court building and demanded that the suspects be handed over to them. Members of the group damaged court property, while forcing their way to the cells.
EFF has called out its members to attend the Court proceedings.
Image (Former PP Thuli Madonsela has cautioned AfriForum to be mindful on their attitude following unrest in Senekal, FS).