Lobby group AfriForum have taken their greivances with South Africa’s leadership to one of the highest authorities on the planet. The United Nations (UN) have officially received a complaint about President Cyril Ramaphosa – and former DIRCO Minister Lindiwe Sisulu – after they were accused of ignoring the threat of “farm attacks”.

These rural crimes have accounted for dozens of deaths over the years, and became an international talking point in 2018 when Donald Trump Tweeted that he was “keeping an eye” on the situation. However, a charm offensive soon followed, with both Ramaphosa and Sisulu playing down the frequency of the attacks.

Why have AfriForum reported Cyril Ramaphosa to the UN?

Ramaphosa has been slammed by AfriForum for making false claims on an international news channel about South Africa’s farming community, whereas Sisulu – whose tough week just got a little bit worse – is singled out for calling AfriForum liars. Here’s what the group said in a recently-released statement.

“AfriForum today filed a formal complaint with the United Nations Special Rapporteur against President Cyril Ramaphosa and Lindiwe Sisulu for their efforts to discredit AfriForum as human rights defenders – thereby destroying the work of this organization to promote human and civil rights in South Africa. AfriForum regards farm murders and land grabs as serious human rights violations.”

“Ramaphosa said in an interview with Bloomberg that US President Donald Trump was deceived about the situation in South Africa. He said: ‘There are no killings of farmers, or white farmers in South Africa’ – It is extremely worrying that the South African government is ignoring these issues locally.”

AfriForum statement

Lindiwe Sisulu also targeted – but what is a Special Rapporteur?

AfriForum requests that the Special Rapporteur:

  • Acquires a guarantee from Ramaphosa and the South African government that it will effectively protect AfriForum as a human rights defender;
  • Hold the SA government accountable for their alleged efforts to discredit AfriForum in the organization’s efforts to raise international awareness of gross human rights violations
  • Ask Ramaphosa and Sisulu withdraw their remarks on an international platform.

There has been no official response from either Cyril Ramaphosa or Lindiwe Sisulu on this issue. A “Special Rapporteur” is the official title given to an independent expert employed by the UN, who must go on fact-finding missions to verify complains from alleged victims of human rights violations. The ball is now in their court.

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Presh JM Reporter

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