Boy made to watch mum’s assault
A WOMAN has been "repeatedly, violently" sexually assaulted in front of her young son by five armed attackers in the latest attack on South African farmers.
The incident occurred on a family farm in Knoppieslaagte, about half an hour south of Pretoria, in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week.
At about 1am, five attackers armed with firearms and a crowbar smashed through the sliding glass door of the house, where a couple in their 60s live with their two adult children, aged in their 20s, and two primary-school age grandchildren.
"This is the second attack on them in seven months," Ian Cameron, head of community safety at civil rights group Afriforum, told local media. "They said they recognised the men from the previous attack."
The suspects allegedly overpowered and tied up the family members in separate rooms, while the elderly woman was told to round up the money in the house. "They told the woman that they would hurt her husband if she did not comply," Mr Cameron said.
During the ordeal, which lasted for about an hour-and-a-half, the men "repeatedly, violently" sexually assaulted the 28-year-old woman in front of her five-year-old son, according to Mr Cameron, who arrived on the scene shortly after the attack. "They didn't rape her," he said. "Luckily it didn't go that far, but it is just as vile."
He said the woman managed to free herself at about 2.20am and summon assistance from the Afriforum neighbourhood watch. Local media reports the Centurion area has seen heightened tensions due to illegal land invasions in recent weeks.
"It is unclear at this stage whether the attack is related to the land invasions in the area and that the police are investigating," Mr Cameron said. "We do encourage people to strengthen safety structures around them, including joining the local neighbourhood watch."
Local police have been contacted for comment. Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, Mr Cameron said he had just returned from the scene of another attack near Pretoria, the 97th since January 1.
Last year, 82 people were killed in a record 423 incidents, according to figures compiled by Afriforum, which says the South African government stopped publishing farm murder statistics in 2008.
"This time it happened in the Western Cape's wine country on the farm named Wolwefontein," he wrote. "Martin Louw, a renowned community man in his 60s, is now another statistic. Martin woke up and confronted an attacker in his house on a farm after which the attacker stabbed him to death.
"What leaves me baffled is that we have started speaking of 'good' or 'bad' murders. In Martin's case, he was lucky not to have been tortured before being killed.
"Hannatjie Ludik, 56, and her husband Callie, although alive, sometimes wish that they had rather not survived as they live with the thoughts of the night that Hannatjie was repeatedly gang-raped by three of their attackers on a farm.
"The fact that people here, myself included have started differentiating between what good and bad murders on farms are, indicates a society that has become sick from all the violence."
Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop slapped down Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's offer to fast-track humanitarian visas for South African farmers, saying "each application is assessed on its merits".
Mr Dutton outraged the South African government last week when he floated the idea, saying farmers needed to flee "horrific circumstances" for a "civilised country" like Australia. The offer was branded as "racist" and led to an official diplomatic rebuke.
"The South African government is offended by the statements which have been attributed to the Australian Home Affairs Minister and a full retraction is expected," South Africa's foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
"That threat does not exist. There is no reason for any government in the world to suspect that a section of South Africans is under danger from their own democratically elected government."
Last month, South Africa's parliament voted in favour of a motion to kick off the process of amending the country's Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.
Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, which brought the motion with the support of the ruling African National Congress, in 2016 told supporters he was "not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now".
Earlier this month, Mr Malema said his party was specifically aiming to remove Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip because he was white, saying "We are cutting the throat of whiteness."
In 2012, former president Jacob Zuma sang the apartheid-era song "kill the farmer, kill the Boer" at the ANC's centenary celebrations, in defiance of a High Court ruling banning the song as hate speech.