Civil rights organisation AfriForum says farm murders are on the rise again.
Releasing its latest statistics on farm attacks this week, AfriForum said there had been 395 farm attacks nationwide since April 2020.
“Although there was a decrease in the number of farm attacks in the 2020-21 financial year compared to the previous financial year, there was an increase in farm murders,” it said.
According to the organisation, 59 people were killed on farms in the country in the past year, compared to 41 the previous year.
“The attacks also remain a major concern due to the excessive violence that often accompanies these crimes. In 22% of the attacks, victims were brutally tortured by burning them with irons, hitting or kicking them to death, or repeatedly stabbing them with a sharp object,” it said.
Of the victims 64% were over the age of 50 and items stolen during the attacks were mostly firearms, vehicles and electronic devices.
“The fact is farm murders and the cruelty of the attacks have increased despite that the number of attacks has decreased is extremely worrying. It also shows us that the lip service the minister of police and the President showed the subject for a short time last year, has actually come to nothing and that it is becoming increasingly important for communities to move towards their own safety, ” said Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s head of policy and action.
Releasing its statistics earlier this year, the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) said restrictions on people’s movements during the various Covid-19 lockdown stages last year did not help reduce the number of murders on South Africa’s farms and smallholdings.
According to Chris van Zyl, TAU SA assistant general manager, the organisation defined farm attacks and farm murders as acts of violence against residents and workers on and visitors to farms and smallholdings.
Breaking down last year’s farm attacks and farm murders by province, the statistics revealed that Gauteng had 16 murders in 101 attacks (one murder per 6.3 attacks); KwaZulu-Natal had 15 murders in 33 attacks (one murder per 2.2 attacks); the Free State had 10 murders in 50 attacks (one murder per five attacks); Mpumalanga had eight murders in 45 attacks (one murder per 5.6 attacks); and the Eastern Cape had eight murders in 19 attacks (one murder per 2.4 attacks).
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting by Farmer’s Weekly