03/10/2017 11:32 SAST | Updated 03/10/2017 12:24 SAST

Steve Hofmeyr Rants About 'Wrong' Farm-Murder Statistics

The musician believes the situation is even "worse" than he had initially claimed.

Herman Verwey - Netwerk24

A Twitter spat between fact-checking organisation Africa Check and controversial Afrikaans musician Steve Hofmeyr about farm-murder statistics has erupted again on Tuesday morning.

Hofmeyr's denial of official farm murder statistics -- which he first tweeted about in 2013 -- has come back into the spotlight, along with a long-forgotten "cheeseburger" incident from the 1980s.

On Friday, Hofmeyr replied to a tweet about farm murders, saying that his initial statement about the number of farm murders -- which Africa Check has consistently debunked -- was a "woeful underestimation".

Hofmeyr told HuffPost SA that he was ashamed for previously believing Africa Check's statistics.

"When I discovered the dire mortality rates of my people (not all accurate, I concede), your kind folk [Nechama Brodie of Africa Check] wasted months deconstructing stats, discrediting me and painting our attempts as racist, thus deprioritising focus on the bigger picture, the reality of DEAD PEOPLE (sic)," Hofmeyr said via WhatsApp message.

"I fell for it, tried to lie to myself, found mitigation, euphemisms, softened my attack, defended what I could on Malala, Carte Blanche & Cliff Central. Today I am ashamed. For falling for all of the above, when I should have listened to cries of my people. It WAS a genocide all along and they WERE dying like flies and, yes, the bodies could fill a sport stadium (sic)," Hofmeyr said.

The singer claimed in 2013 that the number of white South Africans killed by black people would fill a soccer stadium, that white Afrikaners are being killed "like flies" and that a white farmer is murdered every five days.

"[Hofmeyr's] claims are incorrect and grossly exaggerated. In fact, [white people] are less likely to be murdered than any other race group," Africa Check said on its website at the time.

New research has since been done, providing an even clearer view of the disconnection between Hofmeyr, his followers, and the facts surrounding farm murders in South Africa.

"Our latest fact sheets are a compilation of all the available farm murder statistics since the 1990s. If he hasn't looked at it, I would like him to, because he has such a huge platform whom we feel should know the facts about the situation." Anim van Wyk, editor of Africa Check, told Huffpost SA.

In their Twitter debate, Africa Check -- after Hofmeyr made claims that employees of the Africa Check were too young to know about him -- brought up an infamous incident dating back to the late 1980s.

In Afrikaans, Africa Check replied saying that some of its employees were old enough to remember Hofmeyr's "cheeseburger days' -- a time when the singer told the media he was so attractive that women found him as irresistible as a cheesburger.

"It's not about attacking people, and forcing people to accept the facts," Van Wyk said.

"We study new research coming out about this process, so maybe doing it in a more humorous way, and in his own language, will help him understand what we are doing."