Police inciting people against farmers with false statements about shooting
23 July 2018
The statement issued by the Police spokesperson last week, Brigadier Jay Naicker, that the police shot and killed an 80-year-old farmer in Bergville in KwaZulu/Natal after he fired his gun at the police first seems to be incorrect as the person was not a farmer according to new information.
Naicker said that the elderly man shot a black person in the face because the person was on his property. This creates the impression that farmers are prone to use extreme violence without cause.
Unfounded statements like these can incite people against farmers and make farmers out as antagonists, particularly with regard to the issue of land. It can even contribute to an increase in farm attacks and murders.
According to media reports, the deceased was not a farmer. Hy simply lived on a small piece of land, which was not even one hectare in size. The police owe the farming community an apology.
The police must verify their information before media releases are issued that may cast certain communities in a negative light and that may consequently be inflammatory.
The circumstances of this incident raise various questions. From media reports, it can be gleaned that the deceased had a history of irresponsible behaviour as he had previously threatened people in the area with his firearm.
This was reported to the police. Had the police heeded these warnings and confiscated the deceased’s firearm, this tragedy could have been prevented.
Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 23 July 2018