POLITICAL NEWS - The peaceful protest against farm attacks and murders that was scheduled to take placeat the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Mandela Day, 18 July, has been cancelled.
This comes after Tshwane metro police department (TMPD) issued a statement on Thursday, rejecting the application for the protest to go on amid the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.
“Should this march go ahead, it will be regarded as illegal,” said metro police spokesperson senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba.
Mahamba warned protesters no to engage in any marches or face the consequences.
“We received an application for a march by an organisation called South African Farmers, Women and Children of All Races. We could not approve this march due to the current Covid-19 situation in the country.”
The organisation was planning on marching to the Union Buildings on Saturday.
Mahamba said the TMPD had been made aware that the marchers were planning to proceed with the march regardless of the declined application.
He warned that TMPD officers would be deployed to monitor the situation.
“Anyone who breaks Covid-19 lockdown regulations will be dealt with accordingly.”
He further appealed to members of the public to refrain from engaging in any marches in order to reduce Covid-19 infections.
Devon Hofmeyr, one of the speakers on the day, has called off the march.
“Unfortunately, I cannot send people, whose interests I put first, in an illegal march. The safety and well-being of our people in times like these must come first,” Hofmeyr told Rekord.
“I really hope that those who hold marches, which are supposed to be illegal, will also receive the type of opposition from the metro,” he added.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been calling on government to declare farm murders as a hate crime.
On why farm murders should be declared hate crimes, DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said it was not only the attacks, but also about those, on social media and other platforms calling for more farmers to be killed.
Kohler-Barnard said the DA would again ask the South African Police Service (SAPS) to recategorise rural attacks as priority crimes.
“The DA will also ask for investigative capacity at rural SAPS stations to be increased, to ensure that attackers are apprehended.”
She further said farm attacks and farm murders should be treated as a separate crime category, which requires a particular solution.