Farm murders at their lowest in 19 years: AgriSA

31 May 2018 - 17:48 By Nico Gous
AgriSA Rural Safety director Kobus Visser said people living in rural areas were vulnerable‚ because of the lengthy response times and the remoteness of farms. File photo.
AgriSA Rural Safety director Kobus Visser said people living in rural areas were vulnerable‚ because of the lengthy response times and the remoteness of farms. File photo.
Image: bwylezich / 123RF Stock Photo

A new report by agricultural industry body AgriSA‚ titled “Farm Attacks: One of Agriculture’s Challenges”‚ was released on Thursday. It states that farm murders are at their lowest in the last 19 years.

In the report they used the 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.

In total there have been 1‚733 murders on farms and 12‚567 farm attacks over the past 19 years.

AgriSA Rural Safety director Kobus Visser said people living in rural areas were vulnerable‚ because of the lengthy response times and the remoteness of farms.

“This offers the attackers an opportunity to linger on the premises for longer‚ with a greater chance of the victim being subjected to a high degree of violence and brutality‚ compared to crimes in urban areas where the police‚ security companies and neighbours arrive sooner to render assistance.”

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.

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.

“In the analysis of Gauteng’s statistics‚ it is important to take into account that most farm attacks occur on smallholdings.”

The Northern Cape was the safest province.

AgriSA said farmers must continue to ensure their own security‚ despite government’s responsibility. They said farmers had installed security cameras communications systems‚ installed boom gates and bought night vision cameras and drones for their protection.

“Notwithstanding the above‚ the continued attacks on the farming community remain cause for concern‚ especially since the community is responsible for producing sufficient food for a growing population - something they manage to do successfully.”

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