Farm attacks decreased in the 2020 calendar year to 382 as compared to 511 in the previous year, while murders saw a significant increase from 45 to 63, AfriForum announced on Wednesday.
The lobby group gathered their statistics from various resources including various security networks, media and social media and information received directly from affected families.
While general crimes, including farm attacks, decreased due to the lockdown and high police visibility, attacks on farms remained violent, said AfriForum researcher Andrea Muller.
“Many attacks were extremely violent in nature, and victims were tortured and left traumatised. In one incident, a North West couple was left with burns, broken ribs and multiple head wounds after three attackers ambushed them on their farm,” she said.
August saw the highest number of farm attacks, with 60 recorded in that month. This was followed by July and June, which recorded 40 and 41 attacks respectively.
While there was a dip in farm attacks, murders on farms, however, increased by 28.5% compared to the previous year, with the highest recorded number of 11 murders reported in December 2020.
January was the only month that saw no farm murders while the North West was the only province to experience no killings.
Most farm murders took place in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Free State, recording 15, 14 and nine murders respectively.
“The high incidence of farm murders in KwaZulu-Natal is great cause for concern. 15 farm murders recorded for [the province] in 2020 compared to six farm murders recorded in 2019.
But despite numerous farm murder protests last year, government has still denied that the crime is a priority, said AfriForum.
“Minister of Police Bheki Cele paid a few visits to farms in 2020 to condemn these violent attacks and murders and to offer his condolences to families of the victims. That said, however, no further steps were taken to prioritise or prevent future farm attacks and murders,” said AfriForum in their report.