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South Africa police ministry official ‘racially abused’

The spokeswoman for South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele says she has received “racist” and “abusive” phone calls after her minister condemned a violent protest by some white farmers in the small town on Senekal on Tuesday.

Lirandzu Themba says she found the calls worrying
Lirandzu Themba says she found the calls worrying

In a tweet, Lirandzu Themba said the callers were anonymous but some had identified themselves as farmers from Senekal.

The calls were “worrying”, and were being “looked into” by the police, she added.

A group of protesters stormed the court building in Senekal in South Africa’s Free State province and set fire to a police vehicle during a protest against the murder of a 21-year-old farm manager last week.

The protesters demanded that two men who appeared in court over the murder be handed over to them.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chrispin Phiri said he was “simply stunned” by the number of farmers who called him to demand an explanation after his minister, Ronald Lamola, also condemned the violence.

“Violence is violence,” Mr Phiri added.

The local News24 website also quoted Mr Phiri as saying that we had sensible conservations with some callers, most were vitriolic and abusive, and Mr Cele was even referred to as a “monkey”.

Police have arrested a 52-year-old farmer for his alleged role in the trouble.

Mr Cele has called for more arrests, saying the violence was a “collective effort.”

Mr Lamola had described the violence as “anarchic” and an “inexcusable assault on the rule of law”.

The killing of white farmers is a highly emotive issue in South Africa.

Some conservative groups say the farmers are victims of a genocide and the government is not doing enough to protect them.

The government dismisses the allegation, saying the farmers are victims of crime in remote areas and efforts are being made to step up security. BBC News