Farm murders down by a quarter from last year

Supporters of the #BlackMonday picket along Hendrik Potgieter Road, 30 October 2017, as they protest against farm murders. Picture: Michel Bega

There were 47 murders on smallholdings and plots in the year, down from 62 last year.

In its second year of reporting farm-related crimes separately in the crime stats, the SA Police Service’s data suggest there were fewer such crimes this year.

Aside from last year, the previous time the SAPS reported separately on farm crimes was in 2007.

Last year, the head of police crime research and statistics Norman Sekhukhune said that crimes now categorised as farm murders came to 62 in total during 58 attacks, with 12 in Gauteng, nine each in Limpopo and North West, eight each in Mpumalanga and the Free State, seven in KwaZulu-Natal, and three each in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Western Cape.

This year, over the comparable period, there were 47 murders on farms and smallholdings, in a total of 41 such incidents.

This represents about 0.22% of all the murders committed in South Africa over one year.

Picture: SAPS

The stats do not explore whether the motives for these murders or acts of violence are political or otherwise, merely that they took place on farms or smallholdings.

KwaZulu-Natal now topped the list for the most incidents, at 11, with Gauteng seeing 10, the Free State seven, North West and Western Cape six each, with three in the Eastern Cape and two each in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. No such crimes were reported at all in the Northern Cape.

The latest crime stats were revealed this morning, with Minister of Police Bheki Cele admitting in a short address before the stats were revealed that they were “not very rosy”.

Sekhukhune said this year that, overall, murder has increased by 3.4%, with 21,022 recorded murders, 686 more than 2018; sexual offences increased by 4.6%, with 2,312 more cases reported than the following year. A horrific 52,420 cases were reported in total.

According to Cele, most people were murdered by people they know.

The number of children murdered also increased by 2.9%.

Attempted murder increased by 4.1%, with 18,980 cases reported, 747 more than the previous year.

Common robbery showed an increase of 2%, with 51,765 cases reported. 60% of all murders took place during weekends, Sekhukhune said.

Last year, Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald thanked Police Minister Bheki Cele for including the breakdown on rural crimes in the SAPS presentation, something Groenewald partly took credit for after lobbying for it.

The issue of murders on farms remains highly politicised in South Africa.

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