Set against the total number of violent crimes in this country where murder and shootings are commonplace, globalists will argue that these figures are statistically insignificant. But if you use a baseline of the total population of commercial farmers, targeted attacks on white farmers becomes a crime impossible to ignore.
For an expert opinion, I sit with Dr. Johan Burger, Senior Research Consultant at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa (ISS). He analyzes crime with clinical precision, investigating whether the Government of the Republic of South Africa, as the executive organ of the state, has been fulfilling its constitutional obligation to combat crime.
Unsurprisingly, his conclusion is no.
Being a white farmer in South Africa is statistically one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.
According to ISS research, there are around 152,000 serving members of the police force and around 32,000 commercial farmers, but the murder rate within these two distinct groups is roughly the same, 145 deaths per 100,000.
Dr. Burger’s own daughter is a police officer. Judging by his research, he wryly concludes that she is safer fighting criminals than farming crops in this country.
But by far the most uncomfortable truth of all is that serving members of the South African police force are complicit in these attacks on farmers in the country.
Dr. Burger walks me through countless examples of corrupt activity among police officers who have managed to secure politically powerful positions and gone on to appoint their wives, children, and friends to high ranks with huge salaries in the police service.
In 2012, a social worker – Rhia Phiyega – was appointed as the National Commissioner for Police. She appointed a trained teacher as her deputy, and her Head of Strategic Management was trained in theology. A social worker, a teacher, and a preacher heading up the police force in one of the most dangerous countries on the planet. And I’m told Phiyega’s clear instructions were to protect President Zuma and his interests, not the security interests of ordinary citizens. This is just one example of endemic corruption here.
Dr. Burger says the racket of placing friends in positions of power is widespread. In his opinion, grassroots police should be given medals for being able to perform at all with this happening at the top levels of the force.
On the ground, a serving sergeant hears of my investigation and agrees to meet me if I guarantee his anonymity. We chat in the Botanical Gardens, empty of people after a recent spate of criminal attacks.
He is clear about the risks to him if he is caught talking to me: “I can lose my job.”
“I am not allowed to talk to the media without a police escort. And I fear harassment of myself and my family, by elements either inside or outside of the government.”
He genuinely seems afraid but emboldened by his truths.
He has reason to come.
“All my life has been about making moral decisions. That’s why I am in the police, to serve, to protect the people, and this government has failed to protect the people. These farm attacks should have been classified a long time ago as terrorism, because that’s what they are: terrorism. But the government has done nothing.”
He worries that at some point things are going to reach a level where no one is going to be able to stop the attacks, and someone needs to stand up and speak out.
“I am taking a great risk to do this,” he reminds me.
“But it is morally right to speak out.”
He confirms my darkest fears, alluded to and repeated over and over throughout my journey to understand the purging of whites from South Africa. The police are actively involved.
“We have arrested serving members of the police during house robberies. Police weapons have been used in the attacks. Not just personal weapons issued to every officer, but rifles that have to be signed out from the station. We know police ammunition has been used in farm attacks.”
I think back to my meeting with a farm attacker who told me all their kit and weapons came from a police insider on the team, who hid any cash stolen in the attack.
Time and time again, the victims of farm attacks have told me the perpetrators went unpunished, that there were never any charges brought because the evidence was lost or the docket destroyed.
Marietta, Robert, Sue, Bernard – all of them told the same story.
I ask the sergeant about this loss of evidence and why the dockets are always “misplaced at the station” or lost in transit.
He says dockets are methodically destroyed either because the police officer knows who the suspects are or the investigating officer is lining his pocket. He tells me about several detectives with 20 to 30 years of experience in investigating crimes who have been fired for selling dockets, or deleting them for cash; age or number of years in the service are no indicators of loyalty.
Dr. Burger confirms this assertion. He refers me to a recent study in 2016, a doctoral thesis on cash-in-transit robbers who the author interviewed in prison. These criminals were very clear: for a price, it was easy to buy the cooperation of certain police offers.
Services that could be bought included: cooperation with the police to obtain rifles; a police safe house in which to store stolen money; the disappearance of police dockets; the investigating officer agreeing to be less than efficient in his investigations.
It is devastating to realize that corrupt police are willing to equip farm attackers with arms and ammunition, are willing to conceal stolen cash for their cut, and are willing to circumvent justice for cash. I have sat with the victims of these crimes, victims who called the police for help, knowing it was futile and that help would never come.
I think back to my meeting with lovely Marietta, who called for help after being shot at and was told “there are no cars available.”
The sergeant tells me that when a crime-in-progress is called in, there are routinely 16 or 17 cars out on patrol. He says typically only two of them respond. Some claim their radio stopped working. Others say that they were at lunch. And even when they do respond, they don’t make an arrest because the perpetrator is a “brother.”
And brothers are allowed to go free.
Being a brother is not about color; it’s about political affiliation. If you are part of the African National Congress (ANC), EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), or Black Land First (BLF) organizations, you are a brother.
He tells me that if he arrests someone with a membership card for the ANC, no one in the station will help him process the arrest; he is on his own. He estimates that nationally, EFF members make up 30%—35% of the police force. He says the ANC and EFF are two heads of the same beast, the ANC functions to appease an international audience, the EFF carries out the real political damage to whites, at the grassroots.
I have been trying to answer the question of just how far politics are at play here: are these farm attacks ordered by a political directive?
I have not found firm evidence to support this. But clearly, the political climate provides a fertile environment in which farm attacks can flourish. Too many police officers associated with political movements, identify with political ideology and try to implement or propagate those views at a grassroots level.
At a recent meeting, the ANC declared a policy that land could be taken back from white farmers without compensation. This, in turn, has created a frame of reference for officers on the ground, in which they can turn a blind eye when black gangs invade farms or attack the farmers.
The argument goes: occupying land can’t be wrong because you can’t illegally occupy the stolen land. And by extension, killing white farmers simply facilitates this transition.
Political statements like this, which are made on a regular basis, create a climate that accommodates criminal activity. So, when the EFF rally with their protest song, “Kill the Boer, kill the white man,” EFF supporters inside the police force understand that they have a political mandate to disregard – even facilitate –certain crimes, including the butchering of whites.
Dr. Burger remembers one black police captain who he claims had a reputation for arresting farmers on a Friday and making them spend the whole weekend in a police cell. He targeted whites as part of an ongoing vendetta against the apartheid era.
He likens this abuse of authority to a form of showing off, a demonstration that “I am in control now, not you.” I think of the rape of farmers’ wives and children; I believe these are prompted by the same kind of motivation.
Multiple sources including politicians, serving officers, and informants inside international research centers and across agricultural unions tell me the South African police force is actively arming and facilitating farm attacks. That the perpetrators of murder, torture, and assault are protected from arrest or prosecution via their political affiliations, and those police officers are paid to turn a blind eye.
In England, I tell my children: if you are ever in trouble you can always trust a policeman. Here in South Africa, I’d tell them to run the other way.
The white farmer will be hunted to extinction. And the only difference between him and the white rhino is that the world doesn’t care.