Claim about decrease in farm murders a ‘misrepresentation’‚ says AfriForum

01 June 2018 - 06:30 By Nico Gous
A maizefield farm. File photo
A maizefield farm. File photo
Image: Thinkstock Images

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has hit back at a report by agricultural industry body AgriSA claiming farm murders are at their lowest in 19 years.

AfriForum head of community safety Ian Cameron said their statistics showed there had been an increase in murders on farms and farm attacks over the past four years.

“To say that the numbers are low or even the lowest in two decades is a misrepresentation that is being offered to the public‚” Cameron said.

He said that there had already been almost 200 attacks in 2018 and it was not even halfway through the year.

“Current murder tendencies also indicate that we will lose more people on farms than in the past three years if each year is measured separately.”

Cameron said the consolidated figures of AfriForum‚ agricultural union TAU SA and the police showed there had been an increase over the past four years.

AfriForum and its research institute ANI will launch the 2017/2018 Farm Attack Report at the end of July.

AgriSA released a report titled “Farm Attacks: One of Agriculture’s Challenges” on Thursday.

In the report they used police crime statistics that showed 47 people were murdered on farms in 2017/18 and there were 561 farm attacks.

The year with the highest recorded number of farm murders was 1997/98 when 153 people were murdered. The number of recent farm attacks has almost halved from the highest recorded number of attacks in a single year which was 1‚069 in 2001/02.

The report defines farm attacks as violent crimes such as murder‚ rape‚ robbery and bodily harm‚ and violence that destroys farm infrastructure to disrupt farming. The report included commercial farmers and owners of smallholdings such as emerging farmers‚ farm workers‚ their families and visitors.

According to AgriSA’s report most murders on farms were committed in Gauteng with 69‚ followed by KwaZulu-Natal and North West with 61. North West had the most farm attacks with 722‚ followed by Gauteng with 644.

AfriForum Research Institute (ANI) crime analyst Lorraine Claasen said: “By applying pressure on government departments during this period‚ the reporting process regarding farm attacks has been strengthened by the police and the figures for the past five years may be seen as an accurate reflection of the types of crimes.”