‘The priority is to get rid of Bheki Cele’: Helen Zille slams police minister over farm murders

Helen Zille, the DA’s federal council chairperson, has warned that SA will go hungry if farm murders continue.
Image: DONNA WATSON

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille has reiterated her concern about farm murders in SA, calling for the removal of police minister Bheki Cele.

In an interview on 702 on Monday, Zille slammed Cele and efforts by the police to fight crime on farms, saying “the conviction rate is pathetic in every category of crime”.

Zille said urgent action was needed to curb crime on farms.

“I think the first priority is to get rid of Bheki Cele. Then we might be able to have some serious focus on crime in SA. The bottom line is this: farm murders are taking place out of all proportion to the number of farmers in SA,” said Zille.

She warned that one day SA will go hungry if farm murders continue.

“There are only 40,000 farmers in SA and they feed us all, 57 million people, and they still have enough left over to export food to southern Africa,” said Zille.

“More and more farmers are selling up if they can find a buyer. More and more farmers are parting with their land to the state, to enable a once productive farm to lie in ruin. We will one day have no food in this country if we carry on like this.”

This is not the first time Zille has expressed her concern about the country’s food security.

Last month, in an interview on Jacaranda FM, she said: “If we kill farmers there will be no food for anybody.”

According to the latest police statistics, there were 49 farm-related murders in the country between April 2019 and March 2020, and 47 farm-related murders reported between April 2018 and March 2019.

The most cases were reported in the Free State and the Eastern Cape.

In July, Cele said farm killings, like all other killings, were being taken very seriously.

“It is one area where we would like to respond quickly and make sure we work with everybody to reduce that kind of attack,” Cele said.

BY Unathi Nkanjeni

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