Farmers want government subsidy to buy guns for protection during farm attacks

Farmers want government subsidy to buy guns for protection during farm attacks
Farm murders in South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa – Proposal by an ex-SA Defence Force (SADF) major-general and Transvaal Agricultural Union’s (TAU) assistant policy liaison general manager retired Major-General Chris van Zyl.

He was speaking during the first round of the SA Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) national hearings on the safety and security challenges in farming communities in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Van Zyl, a senior officer at the then Eastern Transvaal Command in the late 1980s and early 1990s, proposed that the state subsidised farmers to buy security systems, including firearms, to improve their safety.

He said “consideration of the possibility to subsidise the acquisition of related alarm and security systems as well as appropriate firearms suitable for self-defence against criminals often armed with semi-automatic weapons” would be appropriate.

The hearing also heard that since 1990, 72 black farmers and 117 farmworkers have been killed. Overall, there have been 1734 murders and 3341 attacks on farms between 1990 and this past Monday.

Van Zyl said 1043 white farmers and 437 of their wives and relatives have died on South African farms since 1990.

However, he described the statistics as a conservative reflection of reality.

Van Zyl, who was in the SADF and the SA National Defence Force for 36 years, also blames a 1986 Radio Freedom broadcast – saying farmers are legitimate targets for MK operatives in the fight against apartheid – for the violence in farming communities. “Some still believe farmers are legitimate targets because of a 1986 Radio Freedom broadcast.”

He said the broadcast, aired in October that year on the ANC’s radio station, condemned “racist farmers notorious for their brutal oppression and exploitation of African labour”.

“Sabotage his farming operations. Destroy his crops. Sabotage his implements and machinery,” the broadcast continued.

It called on farmworkers to make the countryside “safe for us (Umkhonto weSizwe) and hell for the enemy”.


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