4 Farmers arrested for murder: Police must play open cards about Piet Retief incident

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4 Farmers arrested for murder: Police must play open cards about Piet Retief incident
4 Farmers arrested for murder: Police must play open cards about Piet Retief incident

The incident that lead to four farmers from Piet Retief being arrested and charged with the murder of two people raises many questions and in the name of justice, the police must provide clarity on the matter as soon as possible.

Using the sub judice rule to withhold information about what gave rise to the incident on 9 April 2021, as well as what exactly transpired is unacceptable.

The farmers in question are Messrs Danie Cornelis Malan (38), Cornelius Lourens Greyling (25), Othard Johann Klingenberg (53) and Ignatius Michael Steynberg (31).

They are currently in custody.

There are various versions of what happened. According to one, the people in question went looking for work on a farm in the Dirkieskop area. According to another version, the people in question participated in an illegal protest and the fatal shots were fired during a scuffle.

A political pressure group, the Mkhondo Justice for Economic Development, was reportedly taking part in the protest march to the farm according to a media report. (Network24, 12 April 2021: “Werkers sterf: Piet Retief-mans bly in aanhouding”).

A statement issued by Mpumalanga Agriculture (MA) asserts that one of the farmers sent a call for help to other farmers in the area because he was of the opinion that the lives of the farm’s inhabitants were in danger.

It is lamentable that rash political statements could possibly give rise to these kinds of incidents or that such incidents are exploited by politicians to stir up divisive emotions.

The Mayor of the Mkhondo Local Municipality issued a statement in which farmers in general are criticised and in which he said that “farmers murdering farm workers” must be condemned.

Mpumalanga’s Premier, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, took the matter even further by describing the incident as racist and one that must be eradicated. She also added that white farmers must not mobilise themselves so swiftly with the [intent] of taking the lives of people.

It is lamentable that the entire South African agricultural community is being demonised based on an incident shrouded in obscurity.

It is unacceptable seeing as the same generalisation could be applied to every case where a white farmer is murdered and that would be a recipe for disaster.

The FF Plus has always held the view that dangerous and false promises, like expropriation without compensation, must not be made seeing as they create unreasonable expectations among people that lead to needless conflict.

Such statements are irresponsible and could give rise to incidents similar to what transpired in Piet Retief.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus