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South African government pressed on farm murders and race quotas before UN committee after AfriForum submits reports

Nov 29, 2023

The South African government was questioned today on farm murders, race quotas and “Kill the Boer” during the United Nations’ (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) review sessions of South Africa in regards to discrimination.

AfriForum submitted a report to CERD in 2022 on various issues impacting minorities in South Africa, including farm murders. In 2023 AfriForum submitted another report, which specifically documented the South African government’s 116+ pieces of racial legislation. This year the submission of the second report was accompanied by an opportunity to do a presentation before CERD.

During the first day, a committee member, Régine Esseneme, asked the South African government delegation about farm murders, hate speech contributing towards farm attacks, farm murder denialism by Julius Malema, and what is being done to address these issues. Brendin Horner’s brutal murder was specifically mentioned as an example (this clip can be viewed here.)

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, responded by insisting that farm murders are normal violent crime, blamed inequality as a driving factor and denied that there is any targeting of farmers in South Africa. Lamola also attempted to change the subject to farm workers being abused by their employers. Mxolisi Nkosi, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva, joined Lamola in brushing off farm murders as normal crime.

Esseneme followed up by calling the South African delegation’s answers vague and mentioning that a report submitted to CERD (AfriForum’s 2022 report) documented at least two cases of farm murders that were directly connected to the “Kill the Boer” chant. She requested that the South African delegation provide CERD with more details on these cases, as well as on the prosecution of farm murderers. Lamola said he will get back to the committee.

“I was very pleased to hear that CERD had read the report that AfriForum submitted in 2022, which contained detailed information on farm murders and ‘Kill the Boer’. Our report also clearly made such an impression that it inspired a question on farm murders from this UN committee,” said Ernst van Zyl, Head of public relations at AfriForum.

When questioned by multiple committee members about race quotas in sport, as detailed by AfriForum in their 2023 presentation to CERD, Lamola responded by falsely claiming that the government had “abolished” the race quota system in sport.

On the second day of the United Nations CERD’s review of South Africa, a committee member, Mr. Y.K.J. Yeung Sik Yuen, with AfriForum’s 2022 report to CERD in hand, asked the South African delegation to provide details on the progress of the court cases against Julius Malema and the EFF relating to the “Kill the Boer” chant. Lamola responded by saying that the Equality Court had ruled that the chant was not hate speech but confirmed that an appeal case is underway.

“The fact that the UN is now starting to ask questions about farm murders, ‘Kill the Boer’ and race quotas to the South African government are some of the fruits of AfriForum and Solidarity’s persistent international awareness campaigns. It’s an encouraging breakthrough,” Van Zyl concludes.

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