NEWS

Agri SA President: 'Crime Doesn't Recognise Colour'

Dan Kriek argues strongly that South Africans must guard against isolating themselves: 19,000 murders annually is everybody's problem.

30/10/2017 10:44 SAST | Updated 30/10/2017 10:46 SAST
Facebook/Dan Kriek
Agri SA president Dan Kriek (back, centre) with his farmworkers after a prayer meeting on Monday. From left to right: Ace Mokoena, Piet Mokoena, Kriek, Abrahm Ndaba and Alfred Tsotetsi

Murder and crime knows no race and it affects everyone in South Africa, says Dan Kriek, president of Agri SA, the country's largest and most influential agricultural organisation.

"All of us share in the 19,000 murders annually and the 52 murders daily. We share in these murders in their totality. And we must register our horror at what is happening in the country," Kriek told HuffPost SA from his farm Quarta in the Reitz District in the Free State.

Farmers and farmworkers form part of the 19 000 murdered every year, of the 52 that die every day. But we cannot act in isolation. We must build bridges between communities and people. Why must every group bury their dead on their own?Dan Kriek, president of Agri SA

Agri SA has declared its support for the Black Monday initiative which seeks to highlight violent crime on farms. Kriek however qualifies this by saying civil action must be inclusive and legal in order for it to be effective.

"The campaign doesn't belong to anyone or any single organisation. It cannot be hijacked . . . it is the product of a groundswell among civil society after a farmer made a video sitting in his bakkie and getting very emotional about the murder of somebody close to him. It touched people on many levels. People, from all walks of life, are tired of crime and murder. It affects everybody: parents, husbands, wives, children," says Kriek.

"Farmers and farmworkers form part of the 19 000 murdered every year, of the 52 that die every day. But we cannot act in isolation. We must build bridges between communities and people. Why must every group bury their dead on their own?" he says.

We're all in this together. Crime doesn't recognise colour. For example, in the Free State we have had 58 farm attacks this year with four murders: two black and two white.Kriek

Kriek explains Agri SA has almost 800 000 people "as part of the family", including farm owners and their workers. "We're all in this together. Crime doesn't recognise colour. For example, in the Free State we have had 58 farm attacks this year with four murders: two black and two white. We need to be honest about (crime) statistics and not only use it when it suits us."

South Africans have the right to protest and they have a right to raise their voices. "But we must reach out to each other and engage with care and love. It's no use that we bury our dead apart from one another. We need to work together."

Farm worker Piet Mokoena led Kriek and his fellow workers in prayer on Monday morning. According to Kriek Mokoena, who is also a lay-preacher on the farm, prayed for the safety of every South African family and also for the souls of the criminals. "The message from this farm is that we are all in this together," Kriek says.