Aug 16

A Mindset That Could Lead To The Demise Of The South African Economy

An Article By Ian Kilbride.

Last week, Economic Freedom Fighters Commander in Chief, Julius Malema, instructed 90,000 of his disciples in the FNB stadium and hundreds of thousands of followers across the country to commit genocide. The instruction to commit mass murder was very specific and very direct. With maniacal fervour, Malema whipped up the gathered throngs to go out and murder a particular group of South Africans, namely ‘Boers’ and ‘Farmers’. The ambiguity of who exactly qualifies as a ‘Boer’ and a ‘Farmer’ (and thus deserving of murder) provides a cynical fig leaf of cover for what is a barely disguised bloodlust against white people, Afrikaners and specifically Afrikaner farmers. The argument that the use of the word ‘Boer’ can be interpreted and justified as a liberation term for apartheid supporters holds no water whatsoever nearly three decades into democracy. Indeed, the urging of genocide in any country, be it in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Myanmar or Sudan is the crudest form of tyranny and destructive of democracy and society.

For a nation so fixated on the protection of rights, it is deeply disturbing that in 2022, a Johannesburg High Court found no causal link between the ‘Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer’ chant (it certainly doesn’t qualify as a song) and farm murders. By contrast, the courts found that the displaying of the 1910-1994 South African flag constitutes hate speech. Yet, already in 2011, the courts adjudicated that the chanting of ‘Shoot the Boer’ constituted hate speech and incitement to murder. While direct attribution and blame for farm murders ascribed to the genocidal chant is difficult to prove in the absence of a personal admission of guilt, surely the risk is far too great to let this pass off as a mere political song?

This is particularly the case when attacks on the South African farming community are well documented. Last year alone, South African farmers suffered 333 attacks and 50 murders. Stated differently, a famer is attacked on an almost daily basis. Every week, our country loses a son or daughter of the soil to murder. The most reliable figures reveal that in excess of 3,500 South African farmers have been murdered since the dawn of democracy. More difficult to calculate is the social and economic cost of this criminality, politically inspired or not. What is clear, is that the number of commercial farmers in South Africa has dropped significantly over the past three decades from some 57 980 in 1993, to less than 35,000 currently.

Of course, some of this decline can be ascribed to farm consolidation, difficult trading conditions, government land acquisitions and yes, climate change. But all of this makes it even more important that we do all in our power to keep our excellent, world-class farmers safe on the land. It is simply in our national interest to do so. Take for example, the case of the current embargo imposed by Russia on Ukrainian grain exports. South African grain farmers not only ensure food security for millions of ordinary South Africans, but they also export to the region thereby supporting food security for tens of millions of others on the African continent. Are these the same farmers Mr Malema and his followers seek to kill and to what end?

The latter question is easier to answer. Malema is an admirer of late Zimbabwean President Mugabe and praised the dictator for the expulsion of white farmers from their highly productive commercial land. The consequences of Mugabe and Zanu-PFs land expropriation policies are well documented as causing the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and the immiseration of millions of its citizens. The beneficiaries of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF land expropriation policies were, of course, the country’s political leadership, party officials, illicit financial networks, criminal syndicates and the Chinese state. This is an appealing model for Malema and his EFF supporters and one that the South African government has failed to condemn.

And here’s the rub. While it is perfectly understandable that the ‘Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer’ chant has been criticised far and wide by AfriForum, the FF+, the DA and even Elon Musk, the South African government and its leadership has remained mute on this clear and unmistakable threat of genocide.

It’s certainly not too late to stop this dangerous genocidal fervour from gaining momentum, but as the great philosopher Edmund Burke reminded us, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.”