CAPE TOWN, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the hoisting of the old apartheir era South African flag by those who participated in this week’s Black Monday protest here organized by Western Cape Province farmers against murders of farmers in the country.

Responding to a question when he appeared before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the upper chamber of the South African Parliament here Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the brandishing of the flag which represents a painful apartheid past should not happen in democratic South Africa.

On Monday, Western Cape farmers staged a protest under the banner #BlackMonday against farm murders. During the march, in which farmers blocked the freeway with their cars and tractors, some farmers were seen hoisting the old apartheid flag, while some were filmed burning the current flag.

The Deputy President said the government strongly condemned the farm killings which continue to take place in the country “because we can never justify any form of taking of life of anyone”. However, the hoisting of the old flag needs to be equally condemned.

He added: “The farm killings must be brought to an end but I want to … condemn those who participated in the march, where they flung out the old South African flag. They just damaged their own cause because by hoisting the old South African flag, they clearly demonstrated … that they still hanker for the old days of apartheid and they are still trapped by the racist past that we thought we had moved away from. That does not do well for their cause and that should be condemned in every respect.

“Anybody who still hoists a flag that is representative of a terrible crime that was committed against our people, what the world called a crime against humanity, should be condemned very strongly and I am hoping that that flag will never be flown in South Africa again…”

The Deputy President said meanwhile that the rights of farm workers, who are often the most vulnerable and are always at the behest of farmers, are a priority for government. Ramaphosa had been asked whether the government would intensify the implementation of the Labour Tenant Act to protect farm workers from unfair evictions and abuse.

The Deputy President said a lot needed to be done not only to address the implementation of the Labour Tenant Act and other pieces of legislation, but also to secure the rights of farm workers, who have rights that need to be upheld and protected.


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