Human rights debate in parliament

2015-03-19
Dr Pieter Mulder

Speaker,

Yesterday, the Honourable deputy president said that all of us, as leaders, need to act against the cancer of racism.

I agree one hundred percent with him. Leaders must set an example. But let me give an example to show what a complicated country South Africa is.

Recently an old couple was attacked by three young men on their smallholding near De Wildt. Mr. Motswaledi Moloto is 80 and his wife, Constance Moloto is 74. The attackers were three young white men. The young white men attacked Mrs. Moloto with an axe and made racist remarks. When Mr. Moloto refused to give the keys of his vehicle to the young men, they took an iron and burnt his legs with it. The neighbours, who later took him to hospital, described how the skin fell of his legs as a result of all his wounds on his legs.

Is this ordinary crime or is it racism? About this one finds different opinions. I would describe it as white racism due to the cruelty of the crime and the racist comments.

The attack did take place earlier this year, with one difference. You did not read about it in the media. The newspapers and television largely ignored it. Why? Because the attack was not perpetrated on Mr. Moloto, but on the old couple Hannes and Annetjie van der Merwe from De Wildt. They are white and the attackers were black. If it had been three young white men who had attacked a black old couple, it would have brought South Africa to a standstill; every talk radio programme would have discussed racism for hours, the human rights commission would immediately have started an investigation and politicians would angrily have issued media statements about it.

Why these double standards? Is it political correctness? Are journalists scared to tell the truth?

Of course it is not only white farmers who are being killed. Elisa Mokoenat and Augustine Khonjana, two farmworkers were strangled during a farm attack and shot in the stomach. Last year in the Free State a black commercial farmer was shot dead by attackers and his wife was kicked and shot.

Statistics show that in South Africa many more black people are murdered than white. The world’s average for murders are 7 in 100 000 of the population. The South African average is 31. For police officers it is 54 and for farmers and farmworkers it is 133. Clearly it’s a crisis.

Section 12 of the Constitution reads:

Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right

c. to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;

d. not to be tortured in any way; and

e. not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

When cash-in-transit heists were a crisis, the minister of police made it a priority crime. Within two years the problem was largely solved. Why can this also not be done with farm murders?

 

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