The topic of farm attacks in South Africa came to my attention a few years ago via talk radio, but this summer it came up again, and I started looking into the matter more deeply. I have dug through media reports from the US, South Africa, and elsewhere; I have looked at documentation from the South African and other governments, and from various non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), including some NGO’s based in South Africa and which meet in conjunction with South African government officials; and, I am in touch via social media and email with people in South Africa and with people who have connections to South Africa.
I am now far more concerned than ever.
The evidence I have reviewed strongly indicates that criminal gangs are deliberately targeting South African farmers of European descent for home invasions and armed robberies; the attacks are noteworthy for gratuitous violence, torture and murder far beyond anything necessary for simple robbery, or even for opportunistic sexual assault.
The criminal gangs seem to be exclusively perpetrators of African descent, but their victims are not exclusively of European descent; black South Africans are brutally assaulted and murdered simply for working on a farm that belongs to a white South African.
The racial aspect is noteworthy, mainly because the leaders of political groups have sought to foment racial discord by making statements and even singing Apartheid-era songs that call for attacks on South Africans of European descent, blaming them for the country’s woes. Such race- and ethnic-baiting has long been a tactic of militant extremist groups seeking political power, and recalls the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany in the wake of World War I.
South Africa has a diverse population which includes people of Asian (mainly Indian, but also Chinese and some Vietnamese) descent. Xenophobic attitudes have resulted in violence that has been described as “well-orchestrated” targeting these communities; many ethnic Chinese business owners have packed up and left, moving to other countries, and others are considering their options. There has also been a history of attacks against blacks who happen to not be from South Africa. In all cases, calls for ethnic violence went a long way towards creating the environment in which that violence then occurred.
It is my opinion that South Africa is now an ethnic powderkeg.
Specifically regarding the farm attacks in South Africa, the following facts are particularly noteworthy:
1) the government was made abundantly aware of this problem more than two decades ago as the situation began to develop, having been informed both through feedback from South African citizens, and through statistics kept by South African police;
2) the government decided, against the recommendations of groups formed to study the problem, to disband special rural police units that provided more adequate security to farm communities; and,
3) the government simultaneously directed the police to stop keeping statistics on farm-related attacks, making it difficult to distinguish a significant rise in these kinds of crimes from the background noise of a crime rate that was otherwise high but not as high.
It is my opinion that there is a pattern of conduct and that, in aggregate, the South African government is conducting ethnic-cleansing-by-proxy and is, through its actions, obfuscating this serious crime against humanity. I believe that, if allowed to continue, this could easily be sparked into outright genocide and that it will, under any circumstances, eventually result in a famine as farm production inevitably declines. It is my further opinion that, considering the mineral and economic resources at stake, and the potential for regional destabilization that could result from such a crisis affecting Africa’s most developed and second largest economy, there are serious long-term risks for America’s national security.