February 02, 2018

Katie Hopkins: South Africa's Farm Attackers May Not Be The Only Monsters Here

Katie HopkinsShillman Fellow

I came to South Africa to investigate the plight of the white farmer, who is being hunted from his land by gangs of black farm attackers.

These gangs are coordinated, equipped and organized by syndicates led by dangerous men.

But it doesn't take long to understand that the victims of farm attacks are not just the farmer, his wife and his children, but black farm workers too.

Living in compounds on the farm, paid a few hundred rand a day (around $8 - $14 US dollars), they are dependent on the white farmer to survive.

Some farmers are fair men and good bosses, providing homes for workers' families, paying their workers well and helping with healthcare or additional leave.

And some farm workers seem happy on their farms.

I am sitting with Maria on the porch of the farmhouse where she works, watching her cuddling the farmer's child she has brought up as her own. Maria is a housekeeper for a white farmer. She says she doesn't know how old she is, and is content to have a life not defined by numbers.



She judges her age by the children she has cared for: three generations of one family, from the grandfather to the little girls.

I ask her about the farm attacks and what has happened in a single generation for everything to have gone so horribly wrong. I ask her why young black men commit these attacks when they know farm workers just like her depend on these farmers to survive.

She tells me they are young and stupid, that they have nothing and have learned that the quickest way to get something is to take it. They see the farmer's nice house, his fancy clothes, guns and cars, and they want it for themselves.

She reminds me that without interference from outside, black and white people work perfectly well together here on the farm.

Indeed, there are roses here along the fence line, a neatly cut lawn and rolling hills of lush grass and crops. But behind the white picket fence, the reality of trying to survive here on the farm is stark.

The farmhouse sits behind huge gates and electric fencing. There are cameras and metal grills over every window. Behind the kitchen door the house is one giant safe room - reinforced, alarmed and armed. Even the ceilings are stripped out to give the family a chance to climb up into the rafters and gain advantage over the guns of any attackers.

The farmer's wife says they are not idly waiting to be attacked; they are prepared for the attack when it comes.

When. Not if.

Their two-year-old knows where the panic buttons are. She knows that if she finds herself alone and mummy and daddy are hurt and aren't moving, she must run and press the closest button she can find.

In turn, the mother knows that if her husband is shot, she becomes the last line of defense for her three little girls, so she is learning how to use weapons to survive.

It's an odd way to live. Just like the wealthy farms set up like a maximum-security prison with two-million-dollar mega-fences to protect the fruit, here is a family just trying to live a normal family life. Inside a safe house. With panic buttons even the baby can operate.

I wonder about this difficult relationship, living alongside workers who might, under the circumstances, betray your trust. I ask the farmer's wife how she handles it, knowing that the lovely Maria has been with her family for three generations and has shown true love and loyalty over many decades.

"I can't trust any of them," she says. Her voice betrays neither hatred nor prejudice, only the sadness of her reality. "I can't."

I have spent time with these black workers, talking about their lives here and how they feel about living in the compound, working hard on the land. And I am uneasy.

I hear them telling me the life is very good, smiling big, broad smiles. One worker tells me that if they stick to the rules there are no problems. No drink, no drugs, no problems. 

They have the weekends off, and are here now on a Saturday afternoon organizing their washing, fishing in the dam, listening to music, getting everything in order for the week ahead. They have ten days' holiday a year and send the money they earn back to their wives and families living in townships away from the farm.

Runnik is here to build a swimming pool for his boss. He shows me pictures of his family on his phone, proud of his children and the house he has built for them. He hopes his daughter will be a doctor and travel far from here.

Another housekeeper kindly helps me with my washing from a week on the road.

I wonder how she feels working in the big house on the top of the hill, walking down the long road to the compound every night to sleep in no more than essentially a concrete box with wooden doors.

What are her choices?

In the morning, I watch the workers climbing back up the hill in nearly 100-degree (40 Celsius) heat, up towards the house on top of the hill to work for the man living there with his swimming pool, who owns all the land as far as the eye can see - land filled with trees dripping with macadamias and weighted down by avocados. I wonder how the workers really feel.

You hear stories of "disappearances," of workers who stepped over the line. Rumours of brutal treatment at the hands of the farmers are rife. This week a farmer's wife (as the farmer himself has fled, from what I'm told) and son have been arrested for allegedly throwing a farm worker into a septic tank and making him drink fecal matter.

A 36-year-old man who worked as a mechanic claims the farmer and his son tortured him on December 9, 2017, after he failed to switch on the engine of a septic tank pump-machine. The father and son duo allegedly started swearing at the mechanic just before midnight and called him a "useless kaffir."

The farm worker said:

"His son tightly held my hands behind my back and dragged me towards the sewer hole. His father took a big jug, dipped it in the sewer hole and forced me to drink its contents while calling me a 'kaffir.' He did the same thing twice and I was powerless to fight them back."

The farm attackers may not be the only monsters on some farms.

And it is easy to see how some black farm workers might feel embittered by their life, or at least by the stark inequalities. By the fact that a life of relative servitude can be okay if you keep your head down, follow the rules and don't ask questions; if you accept the status quo, that life here in the compound is far better than life in the townships, and safer too.

You can see how easy it is to sow the seeds of dissent among such workers, how simple it is to fire them up with anger about the impoverished life they lead, and actively recruit those willing to make easy money from farm attacks.

In a first for the media, I arranged to meet one of these recruiters. He is part of a syndicate responsible for violent crime in South Africa: drugs, corporate theft, and farm attacks.

His job is to infiltrate the lives of the farmer and his family, learn their movements and habits, locate their safe and their weapons, identify their weaknesses, and use all that information to prime the gang preparing to attack.

He recruits others to do the same. His syndicate boss dresses him up with a nice watch and money for his wallet, lends him a car, and sends him to lure other farm workers to become informants.

He tells me, wide-eyed, how he sells them the dream:

"Look what you can have if you help us! You have nothing, you are treated like nothing, you have very little wages. The farmer is mean and cruel. If you help us, you can have all this."

Farm attacks are not the random events they might appear to be. They are coordinated and equipped from the outside. But many it seems are set up from within.

And it is a story I hear repeated over and over by the farmers I meet. Robert, Marietta and Bernard have all been victims of these attacks. Robert knew the men who came to torture him and kill his wife, Sue. Marietta knew the voice behind the shotgun that blew her face away. Bernard knew the farm worker who sold the information on his dad; his dad was killed but the worker is still on the farm today, protected by employment law.

It is impossible to reconcile these truths. Black farm workers endure lives of relative servitude for food, a meagre salary and safety; and some like Maria seem perfectly content with this life.

But the biggest threat to the white farmer is the disgruntled worker paid, housed and fed by his hand.

PS: The mainstream media won't tell you these stories. Please help me continue this important investigation and work in South Africa, which will include a full-length documentary on this subject — the first of its kind.

To contribute to my crowdfund, please CLICK HERE. Thank you.

And to see all my reports from South Africa, visit RebelSouthAfrica.com

Comments
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commented 2018-02-04 23:59:02 -0500
Quite frankly I would leave South Africa in a heart beat – a schitte hole country
commented 2018-02-04 07:03:01 -0500
We have very strict labour laws in this country, in fact they seem to favour the employees so if you have a grievance against your employer there are several avenues through which it can be rectified or for you to get compensation. Why would it be OK for anyone to turn that grievance into murder, rape and torture. In most cases there is no theft. Also the housing is free, so is the water and electricity for the employees. 99% of farmers pay for the education of the kids as well as medical, unless it is subsidised by our Government. I pay R1100 per month per child for school fees, my domestic worker pays R25 per month. What we have, we work really hard for, often at night, weekends and holidays because when you have your own business you don’t get paid leave. Some months I pay our employees and there is not enough money left to pay ourselves a salary so we have to make debt so we can feed our kids. To say all white farmers are bad is a lie, when the figure is probably more like 1% and likewise to say all workers are evil and violent would be a lie because that figure is also more like 1%. In my opinion this hate is stirred by politicians who want the focus to be off them so that they can continue to steal our taxes for their own coffers, and the 2% run with it and create a racial war. Every day I am confronted by men and women of all races, religions social economic standing treating each other with respect and being friendly and kind. If we the 98% can all stand together and say to the 2% that we as good people will no longer stand by while they torture and kill, then (I believe) we can put an end to this so called “war”. And just for your info my domestic work is paid very well, I treat her with love and respect. Our kids play together, we often sit and discuss the state of our nation for hours while enjoying coffee and tea. She is my friend and I am proud to say that we can trust her 100%.
commented 2018-02-03 12:36:12 -0500
Katie as you saythese workers are fed, housed and paid by the farmer, who in Britain or any other country does that?
We are used to these people being disgruntled as they do not understand economics at all, neither do they understand that farmers have worked hard all their life passing it on to their children for centuries or decades when they retire.The farm workers usually spend all they have without saving anything at all.
Obviously, like in any country (especially the UK) there will always be some racist people, but in SA there are very few racist white farmers compared to the millions of black people who were brainwashed by politicians to hate them.
But….nothing justifies the attacks, murders and torture that farmers and white people have to endue in this country. As you might have gathered, farming here is the most dangerous job in the world as backed up by statistical facts.
I certainly hope that you’ll do the right thing by exposing these atrocities.
commented 2018-02-03 12:30:34 -0500
Katie as you saythese workers are fed, housed and paid by the farmer, who in Britain or any other country does that?
We are used to these people being disgruntled as they do not understand economics at all, neither do they understand that farmers have worked hard all their life passing it on to their children for centuries or decades when they retire.The farm workers usually spend all they have without saving anything at all.
Obviously, like in any country (especially the UK) there will always be some racist people, but in SA there are very few racist white farmers compared to the black people who were brainwashed by politicians to hate them.
But….nothing justifies the attacks, murders and torture that farmers and white people have to endue in this country. As you might have gathered, farming here is the most dangerous job in the world as backed up by statistical facts.
I certainly hope that you’ll do the right thing by exposing these atrocities.
commented 2018-02-03 12:30:32 -0500
Katie as you saythese workers are fed, housed and paid by the farmer, who in Britain or any other country does that?
We are used to these people being disgruntled as they do not understand economics at all, neither do they understand that farmers have worked hard all their life passing it on to their children for centuries or decades when they retire.The farm workers usually spend all they have without saving anything at all.
Obviously, like in any country (especially the UK) there will always be some racist people, but in SA there are very few racist white farmers compared to the black people who were brainwashed by politicians to hate them.
But….nothing justifies the attacks, murders and torture that farmers and white people have to endue in this country. As you might have gathered, farming here is the most dangerous job in the world as backed up by statistical facts.
I certainly hope that you’ll do the right thing by exposing these atrocities.
commented 2018-02-03 12:28:33 -0500
Katie as you saythese workers are fed, housed and paid by the farmer, who in Britain or any other country does that?
We are used to these people being disgruntled as they do not understand economics at all, neither do they understand that farmers have worked hard all their life passing it on to their children for centuries or decades when they retire.The farm workers usually spend all they have without saving anything at all.
Obviously, like in any country (especially the UK) there will always be some racist people, but in SA there are very few racist white farmers compared to the black people who were brainwashed by politicians to hate them.
But….nothing justifies the attacks, murders and torture that farmers and white people have to endue in this country. As you might have gathered, farming here is the most dangerous job in the world as backed up by statistical facts.
I certainly hope that you’ll do the right thing by exposing these atrocities.
commented 2018-02-03 12:27:14 -0500
Katie as you saythese workers are fed, housed and paid by the farmer, who in Britain or any other country does that?
We are used to these people being disgruntled as they do not understand economics at all, neither do they understand that farmers have worked hard all their life passing it on to their children for centuries or decades when they retire.The farm workers usually spend all they have without saving anything at all.
Obviously, like in any country (especially the UK) there will always be some racist people, but in SA there are very few racist white farmers compared to the black people who were brainwashed by politicians to hate them.
But….nothing justifies the attacks, murders and torture that farmers and white people have to endue in this country. As you might have gathered, farming here is the most dangerous job in the world as backed up by statistical facts.
I certainly hope that you’ll do the right thing by exposing these atrocities.
commented 2018-02-03 12:01:13 -0500
Katie Hopkins is putting wages and ‘treatment’ of black workers against the murder and torture of white farmers. She forgets to make the connection that these farm workers are NOT slaves held on farms against their will… They choose to work there, and in a country where they own the Government, and there are laws in place to give them preferred treatment, they do not have to ‘suffer’ at the hands of farmers who don’t treat them right according to their own standards… There is NEVER a reason to boil a white child in a pot of hot oil,…or to burn elderly farmers with hot irons…or rape women…or torture their husbands. If you don’t like the wages, there are LEGAL avenues you can use to force the farmer to pay you more…or you can LEAVE and find another job, or get a free education which your Government will gladly provide. Yes not every farmer has the money to pay royal salaries to farm workers…some farmers are struggling… Yes there are farmers who do not treat their farm workers well, but they are the MINORITY, and the option to leave and find another job/farm to work at is always on the table.
commented 2018-02-03 11:59:57 -0500
Katie Hopkins is putting wages and ‘treatment’ of black workers against the murder and torture of white farmers. She forgets to make the connection that these farm workers are NOT slaves held on farms against their will… They choose to work there, and in a country where they own the Government, and there are laws in place to give them preferred treatment, they do not have to ‘suffer’ at the hands of farmers who don’t treat them right according to their own standards… There is NEVER a reason to boil a white child in a pot of hot oil,…or to burn elderly farmers with hot irons…or rape women…or torture their husbands. If you don’t like the wages, there are LEGAL avenues you can use to force the farmer to pay you more…or you can LEAVE and find another job, or get a free education which your Government will gladly provide. Yes not every farmer has the money to pay royal salaries to farm workers…some farmers are struggling… Yes there are farmers who do not treat their farm workers well, but they are the MINORITY, and the option to leave and find another job/farm to work at is always on the table.
commented 2018-02-03 09:18:07 -0500
These Farm Workers have a JOB – in a country where WORK IS SCARCE! They are NOT slaves, they receive wages that are in line with the law; they are given a safe environment & their own house to live in, so they don’t have expenses such as transport, water, electricity, rent… Yes, perhaps these houses arent luxurious but they are free. What part of this is justification for these people to torture, rape & murder women, children, men, old & young?? South Africa has one of THE BEST consitutions in the world & workers are very very much protected by the law, and that is great, and they know that very well. PLEASE look at the FACTS before getting too sensationalist. Thanks so much for coming here to expose what is happening in this country.
commented 2018-02-03 05:40:38 -0500
what she fails to mention here is: farmers are paid a pittance for their product. eg. a farmer gets ZAR3.50 for a liter of milk and the consumer buys it at between ZAR10/15.00 or more a liter. the consumer is ignorant in this matter and the farmer often gets the blame for these high prices when they have no say in the matter at all.. many farmers live in debt. there are NO subsidies for SA farmers like in europe. she also fails to mention that workers and their wives and children all live for free on the farms. that free “cement box” would cost them quite a substantial bit of money if they lived in the city. in many instances, daycare and schooling are provided and in most cases free farm products, and if medical attention is needed, the farmer takes care of it. these workers have a whole heap of extra benefits that is not mentioned here, that would otherwise cost them money to have if they worked and lived elsewhere. there are so many aspects of farming that is not taken into consideration here or by the ordinary man in the street. when natural disasters strike, the farmer still has to pay his workers who are more often than not illiterate and unskilled or have a very basic education. yes, there ARE farmers who treat their workers poorly, but they are a hand full. these workers are not being forced to work there. they went and asked for jobs, were told the wages and conditions, and were free to go and look elsewhere. if they are not happy they are free to leave. a little disappointing, katie!
commented 2018-02-03 03:57:13 -0500
It is a disgrace the way some farmers treat their farm worker,but there are farmers who really look after their workers by giving free housing, farm schools for education and rashers of food.
There is no excuse to kill and attack the farmer and his family, we live in a free democratic South Africa with laws and rights and as such iff you are unhappy with your lot there is nothing holding you down, like in any job situation either put a grievance through your union or move along.
commented 2018-02-03 03:57:10 -0500
It is a disgrace the way some farmers treat their farm worker,but there are farmers who really look after their workers by giving free housing, farm schools for education and rashers of food.
There is no excuse to kill and attack the farmer and his family, we live in a free democratic South Africa with laws and rights and as such iff you are unhappy with your lot there is nothing holding you down, like in any job situation either put a grievance through your union or move along.
commented 2018-02-03 03:38:57 -0500
It is a disgrace the way some farmers treat their farm worker,but there are farmers who really look after their workers by giving free housing, farm schools for education and rashers of food.
There is no excuse to kill and attack the farmer and his family, we live in a free democratic South Africa with laws and rights and as such iff you are unhappy with your lot there is nothing holding you down, like in any job situation either put a grievance through your union or move along.
commented 2018-02-02 12:58:34 -0500
What a horrible untenable situation.
commented 2018-02-02 12:38:35 -0500
In the old days, White Farmers took Black workers in as slaves. A lot were shipped to America, where they also became slaves. Now days, little has changed. Black workers work for a pittance and are treated little better than slaves. Is it any wonder that some of them want revenge for what happened in the past.

The fact that the Native Africans are now educated, changes the scenario. The Black Africans who are now killing off as many White Africans as possible, are doing so because of a Political Agenda called Islam.