South Africa has been dubbed the “murder capital of the world,” where at least 50 murders are said to take place daily, alongside uncountable cases of rapes, robberies, burglaries and vehicle hijackings.
The new wave of farmer murders (predominantly of white South African ethnicity) has prompted the nation’s Christian leaders, including KwaZulu-Natal farmer-evangelist Angus Buchan, to urge fellow South African farmers to “exercise extreme restraint.”
Every Sunday, churches throughout the land hold prayers for family members of killed farmers and remember the victims. They also organize massive protests calling for an end to murders in South Africa.
Johan Groblaar, a Christian farmer and activist said: “We Christians are praying and protesting against all senseless murders in South Africa, not just the murder of white farmers.”
MILLION PRAYER MEETING
He recalled that recently more than a million people gathered in South Africa’s farming capital Bloemfontein, in the heart of agriculture region Free State province, to hold a prayer meeting.
Groblaar, who attended the massive prayer gathering, said South Africans were growing increasingly concerned about reports of many farm murders. “I wish the international community would be up in arms about the farm murders as they were against Apartheid during the 1970-1990s,” Groblaar said. “Since the white minority leadership handed over the political reigns to the ruling ANC party in 1994 the international community doesn’t truly care about what’s happening to whites or blacks in South Africa,” he added.
Groblaar believes that the lack of “international monitoring” and “international sanctions” allowed the ANC government to “get away with murder.” He says farmers have become increasingly vulnerable, especially the elderly, as the ANC government introduced legislation that makes it difficult for farmers to carry firearms.
“By law, farmers must obtain a separate license and competency certificates for all firearms,” he explained, adding that criminals can easily access such weaponry on the black market.
Groblaar said the relatively new party Economic Freedom Fighter, formed in 2013 by disgraced former ANC Youth leader Julius Malem, is also responsible for the tensions. He accused the party of inciting racist hate speech and calling supporters to illegally grab mainly white farmer-owned private farmlands. Groblaar compared it to similar land grabs in Zimbabwe.
HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Christians and activists say that South Africa’s high unemployment rate of above 50 percent, mainly among uneducated and unskilled black people, has added to tensions between thriving white farmers and “politically-motivated rogue black opportunists with criminal intentions” who are blamed for the majority of farmer murders.
The ongoing violence comes more than 20 years after the collapse of Apartheid that was supposed to usher in a new era in South Africa. At the mass prayer meeting in Bloemfontein, Evangelist Buchan expressed his disappointment.
He warned what he viewed as South African’s corrupt and incompetent ANC government leadership saying: “Don’t play with God.”
Video footage has emerged showing ANC sympathizers wearing party yellow t-shirts mocking a prayer meeting of South African farmers.
Buchan had a message for South African President Jacob Zuma of the ruling ANC party, who has been under investigation over financial wrongdoing. “Mr Zuma, like the rest of us, needs God,” Buchan said.