Durban – Political parties have slammed the violent protests of a group of farmers outside the Senekal Magistrate’s Court which ended in a confrontation between the farmers and police after the torching of a SAPS van.
On Wednesday, police confirmed that a 52-year-old man was arrested for malicious damage to property and will be appearing in court soon.
The group had gathered outside the court demanding justice for slain 21-year-old Paul Roux farm manager Brandon Horner as the suspects in his murder case appeared in court in the Free State town of Senekal.
The EFF was the first to condemn the protests, but not without first slamming the reaction and handling of the incident by the police.
EFF national spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said that police had shown “pathetic cowardice” on Tuesday when confronted by violent protests and aggression from white people following protests by a group of white farmers.
Pambo called the incident by the group a blatant lack of respect for “their puppet regime and its authority”.
“These individuals, arrogant as a result of this ANC-led government, which suffers from low self-esteem and a fear of whiteness, committed these violent acts knowing very well no force would be shown against them because of the colour of their skins.”
He said that unlike on countless occasions law enforcement had used force against black people who protested peacefully for genuine issues, the group of white men who had terrorised police outside a court operated with impunity, and this was in stark contrast to the Marikana mineworkers who were massacred while retreating.
“It was unlike the brave Fees Must Fall generation who were constantly confronted by rubber bullets, teargas and at times live ammunition while demonstrating on campuses and in front of Parliament,” said Pambo.
African Transformation Movement MP Vuyo Zungula said: “A thorough investigation must be done and all those who caused public violence and malicious damage to state property must face the full might of the law and get similar sentences to Khanya Cekeshe. We won’t tolerate white supremacy in 2020.”
Richard Mamabolo, spokesperson for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, said that the behaviour of the group was unruly and characteristic of recklessness and called those responsible to be held responsible.
“Every South African has an inalienable right to protest, but this cannot be tolerable if conducted in a destructive and demeaning manner. The rules of this country should impartially apply to all, regardless of anyone’s economic standing,” Mamabolo said.
AfriForum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets said that the protesters outside the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday were not only people expressing their sympathy and compassion, but they were also furious about the situation in the country.
“The fury that the people expressed in Senekal is the consequence of the cruelty of a problem that simply persists, coupled with the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards farm murders,” Roets said.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said he had been shocked and disgusted by the demonstration by the group of farmers outside the Senekal court which resulted in arson and vandalism.
“While we all condemn the gruesome killing of this young man in Paul Roux, absolutely no one has the right to take the law into their own hands, no matter what the situation is. This type of lawlessness can’t be justified nor taken lightly.
“There is no logic when these protesters burn a police van, which is the same resource that is meant to assist them. It is also baffling why the anger of this community is being directed towards the police, when arrests have been made by the police and the suspects are before the courts,” said Cele.