Farmers' union hopeful about decline in farm attacks and murders in SA
Commercial farmers’ union TLU SA said it hoped a reported decline in farm attacks and murders - with no killings in January 2020 - would continue for the rest of the year.
The union said there were 20 farm attacks but no murders in January.
This was in contrast to 35 farm attacks and six murders registered in January 2019, and the 39 farm attacks and five murders recorded in January 2018.
“Based on this register, we trust the slightly more favourable situation will continue for the rest of the year,” said Maj-Gen Chris van Zyl, deputy general manager of TLU SA.
Van Zyl said the positive trend could possibly be attributed to better safety and security awareness among farm and smallholding residents, as well as quick reactions by neighbours and farm patrols.
“However, the continuing trend of almost one attack per day, of which we are aware of, is still unacceptably high,” he said in a statement.
Van Zyl said TLU SA was initially worried that farm attacks and murders were on the rise instead of declining when looking at the bigger picture, comparing the total number of incidents in 2019 to those of 2018.
“The data of 2019 in comparison with the data from 2018 still shows a rise in both the number of registered attacks – 419 to 394 – and the number of murders – 56 to 54.
“In light of this TLU SA is still calling on the government to pay more attention to the prevalence of attacks and other crime on farms.”
The union said a number of points should receive attention during meetings with national police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole.
These included an agriculture-friendly reservist system, the reconfirmation of farm attacks and murders as priority crimes and that farm safety - which affects profitability and sustainability, instead of only farm attacks - enjoys national priority status.