The Western Cape currently records the lowest number of farm murders, followed by the Northern Cape and Limpopo. However, in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Free State the number of farm murders is increasing.  This is according to a report released by Afriforum on Wednesday, February 17.

Titled ‘Farm Murders in South Africa 2020’, the report analyses reported incidents from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

“South Africa witnessed a general decrease in crimes from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020, the scope of this report. This decrease can be attributed mainly to the multiple lockdowns, and especially to the hard lockdown between 27 March and 1 May 2020. However, farm murders, which are still not classified or treated as priority crimes, unfortunately did not follow the same pattern,” the report found.

Farm murder stats, as collated and compiled by Afriforum (Source: Afriforum)

According to the report, 63 farm murders were recorded in 2020, and this represents an increase of 28% increase compared to the 45 farm murders recorded in 2019. “Farm murders”, as stipulated by Afriforum, constitute all incidents that fit SAPS’ official definition according to its National Rural Safety Strategy. 

A total of 66% of murder victims were reportedly farm owners or were killed on farm property, while visitors and family made up 26% of victims. Farmworkers made up 8% of farm murder victims.

A quarter of the victims were elderly, between the ages of 60 and 69 years old, while 63% of the victims were older than 50 years old.

KwaZulu-Natal recorded 24% of cases, while 22% were from the Gauteng province. A total of 14% of farm killings came from the Free State, while the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo accounted for 13%, 11% and 8% respectively.

The lowest farm murders were recorded in the Northern Cape with 5% and the Western Cape with 3%.

“The high incidence of farm murders in KwaZulu-Natal is great cause for concern. Fifteen farm murders were recorded for KwaZulu-Natal in 2020, compared to six farm murders recorded in 2019. Gauteng follows closely in second place with 14 murders during 2020, an increase from five farm murders in 2019,” the report read.

The report also found that 20% of victims were allegedly tortured before being killed.

“Forms of torture include burning, beating or stabbing the victim to death. In many incidents, the perpetrators displayed the body of the murder victim. In two separate incidents, the victims’ bodies were put on display – one was tied to a tree and the other to a pole,” the report stated.

The prime weapons believed to be used during farm attacks include firearms, knives and blunt objects – but it is not uncommon for victims to be beaten or kicked to death.

“On average, there were between two and three attackers per incident, while the number of attackers varies from one to five attackers per incident. It is possible that more attackers were involved in an attack, because victims were traumatised and do not always remember all the details. Some of the attackers may enter the house while the others wait outside,” the report said.

Most farm murders were committed between 7pm and 3am when most victims were vulnerable – most likely asleep – and caught off guard.

Picture: Cape Town Etc gallery

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.