Roy Jankielsohn, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, has condemned remarks related to white farmers by Mojalefa Buti, a member of the governing African National Congress (ANC) party.
“I immediately raised a point of order on this inflammatory profiling of white farmers. The comment was not only an insult to our farming community but can potentially lead to an escalation of farm attacks, a reality which both farmers and farmworkers live with on a daily basis”, Jankielsohn wrote in a message published by South African media outlets.
He added that after an initial attempt to hush up the remarks and claim that they were “historical in nature”, Speaker Zanele Sifuba “had to reconsider and […] revert back to the House at the next sitting”.
Jankielsohn also bemoaned the fact that despite the speaker’s actions, Buti continued to “make derogatory comments about women in the opposition”, something which finally prompted Sifuba to force Buti to withdraw his comments due to his “unparliamentary behaviour”.
“Following the Speaker’s report back on Buti’s comments on white Afrikaner farmers, the DA will take the matter further to the rules and orders committee of the Free State Legislature. The DA remains committed to a South Africa that acknowledges the injustices of the past and the building of a one South Africa for all, united in our diversity”, Jankielsohn concluded.
His comments come after Buti said during a parliamentary debate late last week that “[white] Afrikaner farmers are racist”.
All this comes amid ongoing brutal attacks on white South African farmers, including one which took place in early June, when 62-year-old farm owner Stefan Smit was killed by four gunmen in the town of Stellenbosch.
The murder came in wake of a young white couple being shot and killed in broad daylight by unknown assailants in South Africa after their car ran out of fuel.
Earlier, South African police detained a 40-year-old man on suspicion of brutally murdering 51-year-old farm attack activist Annette Kennealy.
Attacks on white South African farmers skyrocketed by 25 percent in 2018, with assailants using electric drills, blowtorches and bleach against some victims, according to a report released by the Afriforum group, which champions the rights of the country's Afrikaner minority.
Afriforum spokesman Ernst Roets specifically pointed to a "racial element" in the attacks, saying that the number of murders had ebbed to 54 from 72 in 2017, a sign that the white farmers had tried to fend off their attackers. Roets described the developments as a “serious crisis”, which he suggested is “only going to get worse”.
His remarks came after reports in December 2018 that white farmers in South Africa could be forced to give up their own homes in line with the constitutional go-ahead for land grabs without compensation later in 2019.
In August, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged that the ANC would "finalise a proposed amendment" to the constitution on the land grabs, a measure which he described as "critically important" to the country's economy.