Farmers 4.5 times more at risk of being murdered – AfriForum
Commercial farmers are 4.5 times as likely to get murdered as the South African population as a whole.
This is according the civil rights group AfriForum‚ which released its latest statistics on attacks and murders on farms in Centurion on Wednesday.
According to AfriForum‚ 156 commercial farmers are killed per 100,000. According to the police’s annual crime statistics released on Tuesday‚ 34.1 South Africans are murdered per 100,000 of the population.
AfriForum recorded 70 murders and 357 attacks on farms in 2016.
Deputy CEO Ernst Roets said the group was being “deliberately conservative” in its numbers.
“We only add cases that we can verify. When we say 70 we mean that we have a list of 70 people that have been murdered.”
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This was an increase from the 48 murders recorded in 2011.
Lorraine Claasen‚ a criminologist at AfriForum‚ said there had been 70 murders on farms so far this year‚ and that there was usually a spike over November and December.
She conceded that some farmers were racist and mistreated farm workers‚ but said this was “not a reason to isolate and to decry farmers and people in rural communities as criminals when they are also murdered and attacked”.
There have been eight attacks and two murders on farms in the last six days.
Kyle Stols was murdered on Sunday during a burglary on a farm close to Jagersfontein in the Free State.
His brother Gawie on Wednesday picked up a regional newspaper which carried Kyle’s murder on the front page during the press conference.
“In the past I looked and read the newspaper and said: ‘Another farm attack. Wow‚ it is bad‚’ and moved the newspaper aside.”
Gawie Stols said he would swap places with his brother if he could.
“He had his whole life ahead of him ... He did not get the chance to have maybe a first‚ second or third girlfriend. It is mundane things which we just accept.”
Claasen said the lives of farmers were not worth more than someone living in the city‚ but “people living in the cities do not plant the vegetables that we are going to eat tomorrow”.
Steven Vermaak‚ director of the crime-fighting non-profit Heritage Protection Group‚ warned farmers to be wary of the person they trusted the most.
“The person who stores cash on their farms and does not hold it on them in person‚ make a plan‚” he advised. “Open your safe so that they can know what is in there... Everyone thinks there is something behind that nice place that you secure.”