The civil rights organisation AfriForum accused Fikile Mbalula, the Minister of Police, of being a fabricator and distributor of fake news and says that the Minister is more concerned with his own political agenda than the safety of the public. This follows after a media statement by Bongani Mkongi, Deputy Minister of Police, in which people asking for the prioritising of farm murders are denounced as supporters of Isis and the Ku Klux Klan and as “Hitler fascist mafia”, along with various messages that are being spread on social media by Mbalula.

As far as AfriForum could determine, Mkongi’s statement was circulated internally among police members. Mkongi further writes: “The racist attack by Afri-Forum [sic] against the Minister of Police Hon Fikile Mbalula are in the same paradigm as those of PW Botha and DF Malan regime [sic] who attempted to demonise OR Tambo and urinate on the blood and sweat of Umkhonto we sizwe [sic] when they were fighting for political and economic freedom in their lifetime.” He further alleges that AfriForum burnt flags.

Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, says that the Ministry of Police are at the forefront of fake news. “Mbalula and Mkongi are blatantly busy spreading lies and basing their conclusions thereon. It is crystal clear to us that the Department of Police have become so entangled in their own political agenda that the safety of the public, and of farmers in particular, is not on the priority list at all. Yesterday Bokkie Potgieter, an elderly farmer, was murdered on his farm in Vryheid. Mbalula can however not condemn the murder and prioritise farm murders, since he is too busy googling photos of flags.”

Roets also confirmed that no flags were displayed at any of AfriForum’s actions yesterday. Photos of flags doing the rounds on social media with the allegation that it was displayed yesterday, has also already been exposed as fake.

Roets adds that the Minister and Deputy Minister’s allegations can only be made due to one of two reasons. “It can be either that Crime Intelligence is so incompetent that they believe themselves, or that the Department of Police is purposefully spreading fake news to discredit a peaceful protest action in order to conceal their own incompetence.”

“One would’ve hoped that crime and violence would be addressed with the same vigour of that with which AfriForum is now being attacked,” says Roets.

Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety, confirmed that three more people had been murdered in the past 48 hours in six farm attacks. “Bokkie Potgieter of Vryheid was hacked to death, Barry Baars of Ficksburg was shot dead and Willie Barnard of Fochville was also shot dead,” says Cameron.