Andrew Kenny

Beware South Africa’s rising star

Julius Malema [Getty Images]

Cape Town

‘Shoot to kill! Kill the Boer, the farmer! Kill the Boer, the farmer! Brrrr! Pah! Pah!’ These were the words chanted in fine voice by Julius Malema to a rapturous crowd of 100,000 at South Africa’s biggest stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday 29 July. Malema was celebrating the tenth birthday of the EFF, the political party he founded and leads.

EFF stands for Economic Freedom Fighters. It is dedicated to fighting economic slavery. It declares itself Leninist–Marxist, wants to seize private property (as Malema’s hero Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe), plans to nationalise the banks and the mines and enforce total state control. The EFF is the fastest-growing political party in South Africa and Malema the most forceful political leader. After the general election next year, he could become the deputy president of South Africa. Anybody thinking of investing in the country should know this.

Boer is the Afrikaans word for farmer but can mean any white Afrikaner. At the time of Malema’s performance, I was reading a book by a Boer, Ernst Roets, entitled Kill the Boer. It gives detailed – and horrible – accounts of recent farm murders in South Africa. What is striking is the sadism of the killers. You can understand their robbing and killing (to remove witnesses), but what is hard to understand is their prolonged torture and gloating cruelty.

A housewife was seized by two black attackers and forced to watch her partner’s face collapsing as his skull was smashed with a sledgehammer. Six men with machetes broke into a farm and slashed the farmer to death; his two-year-old daughter ran to her father, her little feet becoming soaked in his blood. The killers shot her dead; they made her mother open the safe, before shooting her dead too. An Irish farmer was tortured with a blowlamp.

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