Statement by Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum
United Nations Forum on Minority Issues
Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
25 November 2015
AfriForum is a minority rights organisation operating within South Africa. Our organisation
represents more than 150’000 individual members of minority communities. As part of the
broader Solidarity Movement, we represent more than 300’000 people. In addition, during
the last three weeks we have gathered the names of about 100’000 concerned South
Africans who stated that they support our presentation here.
Our issue is with the growing concern of farm murders in South Africa – a phenomenon that
largely targets minority communities and also a phenomenon that is largely ignored by the
South African government and the South African police in particular. Not only does the South
African government refuse to implement a focused counter strategy that will assist in
combating this crime phenomenon, we also find that victims of these attacks – the
survivors, as well as those whose loved ones have been murdered – are sometimes even
mocked and ridiculed by senior officials wihin the South African government.
Due to time constraints, I will only touch on some of the issues and case studies that are
explained in our report in more detail.
The majority of commercial farmers in South Africa are members of minority communities.
We find that these farmers are constantly used as a political punching bag by the South
African government and senior officials within the ruling party, the ANC.
While South Africa already has an extremely high murder rate, we find that South African
commercial farmers are murdered at a ratio about 4 times as high as the general murder
ratio in South Africa. In many cases, these victims are subjected to extreme levels of
brutality and torture. In our research, we have also found that there is an alarming amount
of cases where the attackers use racial or political rhethoric during these attacks.
The irony is that, while the South African government is in denial about the extent of the
crisis, attacks on South African farmers used to be treated as a priority crime by the South
African government. In 2007, official government statistics showed a 25% increase in farm
attacks. After publication of this alarming figure, the South African government announced
that no further statistics will be published regarding these attacks.
Although no official statistics exist anymore, in the hearts and minds of minority
communities, the problem has worsened.
We now find that these attacks not only continue, but also that gross levels of
discrimination are experienced by the victims of these attacks within the criminal justice
system. Our report includes various case studies, highlighting the extent of the problem. We
find that in many cases, police officials are slow to react to these attacks, that forensic