BENEFACTOR PAYS WITH HIS LIFE
A well-known farmer, benefactor and community leader, Dirk Steenkamp, was murdered early Sunday morning on his farm in the Vredefort district. “Murders and other violent crime afflicting the farming community bear testimony to the serious shortcomings in people’s values and lack of respect for life,” said Agri SA president Dan Kriek.
Steenkamp was known in the community as a benefactor who never hesitated to help people in need. The murder once again highlighted the senselessness and cowardliness of such deeds, as well as the vulnerability of farmers and farm workers who perform their work outdoors in the interest of the country. The murder has enraged and caused immeasurable heartache to his family, farm workers and the community. Kriek, on behalf of Agri SA, expressed his condolences to the Steenkamp family and called on the police to arrest the attackers as soon as possible.
“The irresponsible and reckless utterances around the land issue that are regularly reported in the media lead to the polarisation of people and communities, and incite violence aimed at a certain group of society. These types of statements do not belong in a society where mutual respect and tolerance are essential for nation-building and stability,” said Kriek.
Kriek added that “unqualified statements on land are catastrophic for agricultural development and further investment in agriculture, especially since they are based on unfounded and incorrect assumptions. Such utterances could be interpreted by certain individuals as justification for attacking and murdering members of the farming community.”
“We believe there is still sufficient commitment within government to the principles of the Constitution to make sure that agriculture maintains its rightful place in the economy, to create jobs and to ensure that the sector can adhere to the principle of food security,” said Kriek.
Kriek called on agricultural communities to support their local security structures and to work with the police within community context to improve their own safety. However, no protection measure serves as a guarantee that a farm attack will not take place, but it could delay an attack and give residents a chance to take emergency measures.
Statement issued by Mr Dan Kriek, President Agri SA, 5 March 2018