WHITE farmers in South Africa say there is a campaign of genocide directed against them. But the other side of the issue has now been heard.
SOUTH Africa is launching an ambitious land reform program as white farmers accuse the government of using hate speech to grab property.
As racial tensions escalate across the country, the government is pursuing plans to give farms owned by white farmers to the black community without compensation.
The plan is being supported by the controversial Economic Freedom Fighters party which has long called for the change.
It comes as black South Africans hit back at the claims of violence, saying they are the victims, the ABC reported.
The father of Matlhomola Mosweu, a 16-year-old youth killed in Coligny in the country’s north west, maintained it was black people who remain the biggest victims of the violence.
Sakkie Dingake’s son was accused of stealing a sunflower from a white-owned farm and was later found dead. Two white farmers have been charged with his death but maintain their innocence.
“Based on my experience, it’s not blacks who are victimising them. It is them who are victimising blacks,” Mr Dingake told the ABC.
EFF national spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi denied there was a campaign of genocide directed against white farmers.
“It’s an exaggeration,” he said.
“It’s not even an exaggeration, it’s a falsehood. There is no white genocide. There is no political movement to kill white people. There are no political intentions to the killing of whites.”
The issue of violence against South Africa came under the spotlight after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton suggested persecuted white farmers should be resettled in Australia.
Just last week Mr Dutton said he was considering “several” applications from South African farmers for refugee or humanitarian status in Australia.
The offer has angered South Africa’s government, insisting no such persecution is taking place.
The leader of South Africa’s third-largest political party, the radical Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, last month described Australia as a “racist country” and said white farmers should leave.
According to Afriforum, a rights group representing primarily the white Afrikaner minority, 74 farm murders took place in 2016/2017. It says there have been at least 113 attacks and 17 murders as of March this year.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament last month that his country wasn’t heading down the road towards the type of violent and chaotic seizure of white-owned farms that triggered economic collapse in Zimbabwe nearly 20 years ago.
South Africa’s foreign ministry also maintains its people were not under any such danger.
LIVING IN FEAR
South Africans living in the troubled nation have revealed the lengths they go to stay safe as violence escalates.
Chris Esterhuizen told the ABC farmers started their own neighbourhood watch after having little faith in police.
The group, who go on patrol in Bela Bela, Limpopo province, are armed and wear bulletproof vests as they go about their patrols.
Another farmer Berdus Henrico revealed how he was pistol whipped and shot in the shoulder two times before the gun failed with his robbers still at large.
Others have told news.com.au they are too scared to leave their homes.
In an interview last month, one retiree said she was housebound and too scared to go out even during the day.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said her family are living in constant fear of being attacked or the victim of violence.