Police Minister Bheki Cele again denied that he said farmers should not complain if they get hurt.
Cele was in conversation with News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson on Friday morning in a live broadcast, discussing farm attacks, the recent murder of top cop Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear and the investigation of high-profile politicians for alleged corruption.
Recall that Cele has come under fire following a recent spate of farm killings, including the gruesome murder of 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner near Paul Roux in the Free State last week, especially after he condemned the violence that ensued in Senekal on Tuesday following the court appearance of Horner’s alleged killers.
Local farmers and protesters allegedly stormed the courthouse and set a police vehicle alight.
It was reported that Cele held a meeting with the farming community of Normandien in KwaZulu-Natal, where Glen and Vida Rafferty were murdered in early September.
Roland Collyer, Normandien Agricultural Association chairperson, a nephew of the Rafferty couple, told Landbou Weekblad he was disappointed by what Cele had said at the meeting in response to a livestock issue.
He told the publication Cele said at the meeting “farmers should not complain if they get hurt after they impounded cattle”.
On Friday, Cele again denied he said that. He said “As I said in Parliament, it would be irresponsible for me to say that in a community where there are already tensions.”
Cele said he visited Normandien to address the tense relationship between the communities. He said his comments in isiZulu were misinterpreted by an Afrikaans journalist. He said “I would have expected that journalist to confirm with me what I said. I want to repeat it clearly: such a statement was never uttered by me. I would never say such a thing.”
He said the tension in the community is partly attributed to the issue of the grazing of farm dwellers’ livestock because they are being restricted in terms of the number of animals they can keep.
In one case, a farm dweller alleged his animals had been poisoned. He added that “We have increased our police resources in that area”.
Cele strongly denied that he had “chosen sides” against the farmers, as reported by Afrikaans weekly Rapport. He said he had been accused of siding with the white farmers by the black community. “Many good things came out of that meeting. We agreed to work together.”