Farm attacks. July 2015
In a recent Pretoria Press briefing, Farmers Union, (TAU SA) and AfriForum, presented farm attack statistics for the period 1 January to 30 June 2015. These indicate that whilst Gauteng had been the lead Province with the majority of attacks, the trend was now towards Limpopo and KZN leading in farm attacks. Limpopo has taken the number one spot in the nation-wide rankings according to TAU SA’s Assistant General Manager for policy, Chris van Zyl. KZN previously ranked at number 5 in the rankings, but was now ranked in second place.
For the current period of 1st January to 30th June 2015, there were 27 farm murders, with an estimated 116 farm attacks. If this trend were to continue then SA would once again experience 56 to 58 farm murders annually. Similar in fact to the annual farm murder figures of the past few years. The level of violence currently being experienced is described by van Zyl as “extremely high”.
Another independent observer Kobus Visser from Agri SA described a “culture of violence in rural farming areas”. Aggrey Mahanjana of Afasa, commented that farm murders should be a concern not only for the farming community but the country as a whole. He suggests further that farm murders will also have an impact on food production and possibly food security as a whole.
Since January 1990 South Africa has experienced a total of 1747 farm murders in 3542 farm attacks. Of these victims, 1133 were farmers, 465 were direct family members, 130 were farm workers and 19 represented visitors to farms.
TAU SA together with AfriForum are currently involved in efforts to improve farm safety, primarily implementing Farm Watches at local level. A second option is to implement technologies such as night-vision cameras.
Clearly a number of strategies need to be considered and farm communities and the police need to work hand in hand. However there has already been a lot of “blah-blah” and the crime trends continue unabated.
Farmers and communities will have to engage a multi-pronged approach.
- Work together at all levels. Co-operation and information-sharing is essential.
- Work with the authorities. Get their help and make them accountable. Report everything so that your data is in the national statistics. Crime trends usually get taken seriously and resources can be allocated.
- Speak up. Use the Media and other social media platforms. Complaining around the Braai is preaching to the already-converted. Get your message out there!
- Get technological and strategic aids to protect your family and assets. No-one is going to do it for you. Review your preparedness, train your family in panic management situations and do something right now. Don’t wait till you are forced to do something.
From our roving reporter aka Security Sam.
(Thanks to Farmers Weekly for some data.)