Tensions Rise in South Africa as White Farmers Storm Courthouse

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South Africa’s government has slammed recent demonstrations by white farmers who stormed a courthouse on Tuesday.

According to BBC News, several hundred people stormed the local magistrate’s court where Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa appeared briefly.

Horner’s body was found hanging from a post at the farm he managed. According to reports from Free State province, he had been stabbed multiple times and severely beaten before being strangled.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola described the violence as “anarchic” and an “inexcusable assault on the rule of law,” adding that the “disturbing scenes of members of the public damaging property have no place in a free and democratic South Africa.”

The protestors also torched a police car as they demanded that two men, who had been detained in connection with the killing of fellow farmer, Brendin Horner, be handed over to exact their justice.

Hundreds of farmers, some of them in tractors and others who had driven overnight across the country, attempted to storm the cells holding the suspects.

“They damaged the court property while forcing their way to the court cells. A police van parked outside the building was also overturned and burned,” police spokesman Motansi Makhele said.

The tension between farmers and indigenous South Africans has been bubbling for quite some time.

In August, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) planned to change the constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation. White people still own the majority of the land in South Africa.

Prior to the apartheid, a 1913 law prevented people of color from holding property. Black and other non-white South Africans were kicked off their farmlands and carted off to tightly packed townships.

The decision earned a tweet from US President Donald Trump, who called on the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to study South African “land and farm seizures” and “killing of farmers.”

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