#BlackMonday: AfriForum distances itself from protesters carrying old SA flags

Pictures of some farmers carrying the National Party flag have raised concerns.

FILE: Protesters gather at the Taal Monument in Pretoria on 30 October 2017 in support of the Black Monday movement highlighting farm murders in South Africa. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - AfriForum says protesters seen carrying the old National Party flag during Black Monday protests are not members of the lobby group.

Thousands from the farming community, dressed in black, gathered across the country to spread awareness about farm killings.

AfriForum’s Ian Cameron says AfriForum has encouraged its members to keep the protest apolitical.

“We simply told people to wear black. We did not call on them to bring flags or call for any political affiliations. We have tried to keep it this way. I am proud to say that AfriForum members held the promise to do things that way.”

While many people are supporting Monday's protest, the Black First Land First movement has called on South Africans to boycott protests against farm killings. The group believes people should instead mourn the thousands of workers who are still slaves on farms.

But the wife of a farmer who was murdered last month has called for unity.

Marlene Conradie, who’s joined the protest, paid tribute to her husband.

“I ask that we stand together today, so that no family will have to endure this type of pain again.”

At the same time, Andre Jacobs, who has been a farm worker in the Boland for more than 30 years, says the murders affect the entire farming community.

A group of farmworkers has also joined demonstrations.

“There are so many murders. And children are being raped in these areas. We are not here today to only support the farmers, we are here for all of us who are affected by crime in the area. As farm workers, we are being murdered too.”

Johan Burger, an independent crime analyst, says it is unfortunate that farm killings have been racialised and politicised.

“It’s so frustrating that groups, wherever they come from, try to racialise and politicise this thing. The reality is our farming communities are under siege and have been for a number of years.”

Burger says safety efforts at farms should be more inclusive.

“Most victims of the farm attacks still are the white farmers. But if you look at the workers, by far, the workers, who are victims of these farm attacks, are black. So everybody on farms are either victims of potential victims of farm attacks.”

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque and Shamiela Fisher.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)