Dan Kriek, Agri SA President of Agri SA, said it had consulted its member organisations who had, without exception, urged Agri SA not to participate in the protest.
The organisations that will be participating include civil rights organisation AfriForum, the trade union Solidarity, the agricultural union TAU SA, as well as opposition parties the DA, FF Plus and Cope.
Agri SA – which has approximately 28 500 farmers members and protects the interests of almost 800 000 farm workers – cited reasons for not participating as being that the time isn’t right, the message that South Africans have had enough of crime has already been conveyed to the government on Black Monday, and a concern that the “inclusive nature of Black Monday might now be politicised” and those political undertones would not bring them closer to a solution.
Kriek said: “Food security is the outcome of a combined effort between commercial farmers, emerging farmers and farm workers and therefore it is important to find inclusive solutions to the crime problem.
“Our focus is now on working in a solution-driven manner. Now is the time for sober leadership and calmness. Civil society, including farmers and farmworkers, must join hands to expose crime at grassroots level within our own communities.
“Farmers want to participate inclusively in the process of finding solutions to the massive crime problem and to bring home the message that they are dissatisfied with how crime is currently dealt with…
“We are working with the police to find solutions to effectively implement strategies and policies to improve rural safety.”
During a press conference yesterday, Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, said: “Farm murders are a national crisis and need to be handled as such.”
He said AfriForum does not believe that the lives of farmers and farmworkers are more important than those of other citizens, but that this community is being targeted disproportionately and that the attacks are having an exceptional impact on the country.
“The uniqueness of farm murders justifies a focused counterstrategy.”
He said at least 80 farm murders have been committed since the beginning of the year.
The protest march will start Saturday, 25 November 2017 at 10:00 at the Pretoria Art Museum. Protestors will then march to the Union Buildings.
Agri SA and AfriForum