Farm murders are at their lowest rate in over 20 years in South Africa, according to Agricultural industry body, AgriSA. A report released on Thursday titled “Farm Attacks: One of Agriculture’s Challenges” used crime statistics submitted by police to draw this conclusion. The stats show that 47 people were murdered on farms between 2017 and 2018, and a total of 561 farm attacks occurred in this time period.

The highest number of farm murders occurred between 1997 and 1998, where 153 murders were recorded, while the year with the highest number of recorded farm attacks occurred between 2001 and 2002. This specific year saw 1 069 attacks take place.

In total, there have been 1 733 farm murders and 12 567 farm attacks in the past two decades.

Kobus Visser, AgriSA Rural Safety director, said that people who live in rural areas are more vulnerable as police often have lengthy response times as the farms are more remote.

“This offers the attackers an opportunity to linger on the premises for longer‚ with a greater chance of the victim being subjected to a high degree of violence and brutality‚ compared to crimes in urban areas where the police‚ security companies and neighbours arrive sooner to render assistance,” Visser said.

Gauteng has the highest farm murder rate with 69 murders, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the North West province with 61.

The North West has the most farm attacks with 722, followed by Gauteng with 644.

“In the analysis of Gauteng’s statistics‚ it is important to take into account that most farm attacks occur on smallholdings,” Visser said.

In terms of farm murders, the North West seems to be the safest province.

AfriForum, a civil rights organisation, has hit back at AgriSA’s report, saying that their statistics show an increase in farm murders and attacks over the past four years.
Speaking to TimesLIVE, AfriForum head of community safety, Ian Cameron, said AgriSA saying that the numbers are the lowest in two decades is a misrepresentation being offered to the public.
AfriForum plan on releasing their own Farm Attack Report at the end of July.
Picture: Paz Arando/Unsplash

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Lucinda is a lifestyle writer with a hard news edge, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading travel blogs and loves animals.