Farm murders are back in the spotlight once more, with the death of well-known wine merchant, Stefan Smit, highlighting the issue. Calls are mounting for President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the problem.
Anton Smuts, chairman of Vinpro, has pleaded with the president to take a firm stance against attacks on the nation's farmers.
This follows a number of attacks, particularly on farmers in the Western Cape's wine industry, with two murders taking place in the space of a few weeks.
Briefly.co.za reported yesterday that Stefan Smit, a 62-year-old wine farmer who had been embroiled in a land grab dispute, was murdered while enjoying dinner with friends and family.
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DA Chairperson Annelie Lotriet has dubbed the murder as 'cold-blooded', commenting that:
“This is the second farm murder in less than a month in the Western Cape and follows short on the heels of the murder of former DA councillor, Annette Kennealy, as well as other brutal attacks in Limpopo and elsewhere over the past few weeks."
Vinpro, which represents 2 500 wine producers, issued a statement yesterday, calling on Ramaphosa to improve the safety of its members:
“We call on President Ramaphosa to take a strong stance against this country-wide attack on the agricultural sector and take action to improve safety in rural areas."
AfriForum's Ian Cameron says there has been a 'drastic increase' in Western Cape attacks since 2018, as many as four in less than a week. Cameron claims that there have been 18 farm attacks since the start of 2019.
With the wine industry contributing nearly R40 billion to the nation's struggling economy, employing 290 000 citizens, Ramaphosa would do well to heed the call of the community.
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