Farm killings: Activist on long walk

PITSTOP IN KOMANI: A group of men lead by activist Petrus Phakamile Sitho, third from left, who are campaigning against farm murders, are walking more than 1000km to the Union Buildings. From left Sakhumzi Qave, Mathew Mananga, Sitho and Tebogo Mosieleng were provided with a place to rest at Bailey Guest Farm along their journey Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

Activist Petrus Phakamile Sitho is demanding that government take action against farm murders and will be walking more than 1000km to the Union Buildings and president Cyril Ramaphosa’s house.

Sitho, who was offered free accommodation and food at the Bailey Guest Farm a few kilometres outside Komani, started his campaign on April 6 when he walked from East London, hoping to meet the president.

In an interview with The Rep, he said farm killings were a threat and were detrimental to food security and they demanded that government provide security to farmers to put an end to the plague.

There is no protection for farmers. Government needs to pay for security and safety of farmers in this country. I am going to sleep outside the president’s house and ask him to come forward as he is a liar. He must speak to the South African people to stop farm killings. We are going to end up like Zimbabwe if we do not unite.”

Sitho said his quest had evoked death threats and intruders invading his house, leaving his wife and children at risk. He said when he walked to deliver a memorandum to the president in 2018 he was attacked. “When I went to the Union Buildings, they tried to kill me. The ANC tried to silence me with money – R300 000 – but I refused and they tried to give me a job in parliament. I cannot sell my people and by ‘people’ I mean all races. We are living with a corrupt government and I appeal to everyone to unite and defeat this evil. I am fighting so that we can all secure our food, but our leaders are all stupid, including our president.”

Sitho, who grew up on a farm himself and has witnessed the trauma suffered by farm attack victims, said his campaign included visiting and interviewing farmers and spreading awareness, He is expected to arrive in Pretoria in the first week of May. He was joined by Sakhumzi Qave, Matthew Mananga and Tebogo Mosieleng who saw his campaign on social media and decided to be part of the movement.

Sitho said he quit his daily job to following the calling from God that he become an activist for farmers. He suggested that the president fire minister of police Bheki Cele and the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza for their alleged incompetence. “They are not doing their job. Political leaders sing songs that promote violence against farmers. I was in Senekal where black people have been brainwashed by these so-called leaders. They are promised food parcels to destroy our country. It is bad, someone must do something.”

He indicated that although this was not his first walk, the journey came with its challenges. He added that anyone who might want to assist can contact him on 073-008 4105.

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