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Farmers kneel in prayer in front of the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court.

‘Attacks on farms affect everyone’

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Forming a convoy and picketing in front of a court building not only expressed the frustration and feelings of those emotionally involved in the matter, but it is also used as a way of creating awareness among those who cannot grasp the idea that crime, especially gender-based violence and farm attacks, is out of control.
This was the reason why hundreds of farmers from across Limpopo gathered at the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in tractors, bakkies and trucks where two suspects appeared in connection with the recent farm attack on Legkraal in the Mogwadi area.
Chris Harmse, who is closely involved in the farming community in and around Polokwane and also attended the peaceful protest, indicated that the campaign was mostly aimed at not only addressing the issue of farm attacks but crime in general as well as the cruelty involved.
“People have no idea what happens during a farm attack or the consequences thereof. The brutality and cruelty attached to a farm attack are beyond a normal person’s grasp. It causes so much emotional pain not only to the family but to other farmers as well,” he said.
Besides the emotional torture, people have to understand that an entire farm or production line comes to a standstill after a farm attack, he added.
“This has a direct consequence on farm workers and their families and the chain reaction continues to the person buying the product from the shelf.
“Even for farmers who participated here today, production halted for an entire day as they wanted their voices heard. The economic impact of farm attacks in South Africa is astronomical.”
On how the issue can be addressed, Harmse says government should acknowledge that farm attacks are a problem and that their is a desperate outcry for help.
“Government has to understand the problem and the consequences, engage with farmers and propose a solution.”
According to Harmse, an average of 1,3 farm attacks occur in South Africa daily.
“We cannot farm anymore because we have to constantly watch our backs, ensure that our houses are secure and ensure our wives and children are safe. We often go to bed with a weapon,” Harmse said.
Polokwane Observer also spoke to other farmers at court who voiced their opinions.

Story: RC Myburgh