Lirandzu Themba, a spokeswoman for South Africa’s Ministry of Police has reported that callers, some of whom identified as disgruntled farmers in the town of Senekal, threatened and racially abused her following the murder of a farm manager in the town last week.
The Police ministry had criticized a violent protest by the white farmers on Tuesday that saw the irate protesters set fire to a police vehicle. Police had said investigations were ongoing in the death of the 21-year-old manager but the farmers were upset by the pace of the process.
Themba said the police were looking into the threats and abuses aimed at her.
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The farmers marched to the Senekal court building demanding that two suspects who were before the court be handed over to them. The abuse of the spokeswoman followed the condemnation by the Police ministry.
But another spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, for the Ministry of Justice, also reported receiving calls from many farmers who wanted an explanation as to why the Justice minister, Ronald Lamola, had condemned what happened at the courthouse.
The BBC reports that according to Phiri, one of the complainants had called Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, a “monkey” during a call. The minister had called the protest a “collective effort” after one farmer was arrested during the incident.
South Africa continues to deal with the painful heritage of apartheid, the racial segregationist system that put the majority Black population at an economic disadvantage. Programs of wealth redistribution have yielded very little positive results in the last three decades for poor South Africans who have found various ways to register their displeasure.
The killing of white farmers have been raised by some within the country as an ongoing genocide but this has been rejected by the South African government.