Thousands of people took part in a peaceful protest against attacks on farmers and farmworkers on Monday. Jaco Minnaar, chairperson for Grain SA, said that the organisation received reports on various protest marches throughout the country.
The protest aimed to raise awareness of farm attacks and their effects on the agriculture sector and rural communities.
“We are thankful to the South African Police Service and traffic authorities for their assistance in ensuring the protest took place in a well-controlled manner,” Minnaar said, and also thanked the protestors for acting within the confines of the law.
Omri van Zyl, executive director at Agri SA, said the protest action had achieved its goal.
“We wanted to create awareness of the extent of farm violence and murders in the country,” he said.
Speaking at the Agri Extension Week in Durban, DAFF minister Senzeni Zokwana told delegates they should keep SA’s farmers and farmworkers in their prayers.
“Without the farming community there won’t be any food,” Zokwana said.
The protest was widespread, with a march on the N3 between Warden and Harrismith in the Free State, which lasted three hours, and another march that included farmers from Kroonstad and Ventersburg, amongst others, on the N1 in the province.
There were also marches in Bothaville.
Furthermore, protest action delayed traffic on the N1 near Johannesburg, as well as near Pretoria towards Bella Bella.
There were also reports of protest action in Mossel Bay.
Thousands of people also protested in the Western Cape, with protesters congregating at Kanonkop near Stellenbosch, and marching to the Greenpoint Stadium. The procession included horses, motorcycles, tractors and bakkies.
Passie Passerini from Paarl, a friend of Joubert Conradie who was murdered on his farm near Klapmuts, said he joined the protest so that the world and President Jacob Zuma could take note of what was going on in the country.
“If we do not stand together, nobody is going to take notice of us,” Passerini said.
Another protester in the Western Cape, Jono Toerien, said he was fed-up with the lawlessness in South Africa.
“This is not a racial issue. Every South African is affected by murder and something tangible must be done about it, especially about farm murders,” he said.
Here are some tweets from the countrywide protests:
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