Thabiso Lehoko - South African civil rights organization AfriForum has called on the government to intervene in ongoing farm attacks and murders plaguing the country
JOHANNESBURG (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th February, 2021) Thabiso Lehoko - South African civil rights organization AfriForum has called on the government to intervene in ongoing farm attacks and murders plaguing the country.
The organization released it latest report and said 2020 saw an increase in farm murders despite a decrease in the crime rate in that year. AfriForum research reports that 63 farm murders took place in 2020 as opposed to 45 farm murders in 2019.
The rights group has also employed and announced a strategy aimed at reducing farm attacks and launched the Farm Campaign together with the South African Agri Initiative. The campaign seeks to provide farmers with the necessary training to enable them to take their safety into their own hands.
"The number shows that there is a serious problem. You know during lockdown we saw unique crimes going down, like poaching. Farm murders shot up. The problem is serious and it's worsening. After all the promises made last year, we believe government must come to the table. This is our own initiative where we are going to train our people on how to protect themselves through self-defense. We will make sure that they do so under the ambit of the law," Ernst Roets, the head of policy and action at AfriForum, said.
The group's Legal and Risk Manager Marnus Kamfer said that although farmers are increasingly more vigilant, it is AfriForum's aim to make them and their families more protected. AfriForum said training will include safety assessments of farmsteads, training in first aid, weapons training and supplying analogue radio systems and radio training.
Chairperson of the South African Agri Initiative Dr. Theo de Jager told Sputnik that they are extremely concerned with the farm murders that happened last year. He said the gruesome torture that comes with this phenomenon is ghastly to contemplate.
"This is not only an attack linked to the land issue or politics because we have seen these brutal attacks also on farm workers, on black farm owners some of who are beneficiaries of land reform. One Indian lady, a farmer's wife's throat was slit while she was highly pregnant in front of her children. From our side we feel very strongly that we need a concerted effort to bring down these numbers. Government must declare farm murders a priority crime and create a special unit within the police multifunctional unit where we can also involve the intelligence services, the department of labour and other departments and we need to implement the policy on rural safety. We need a reserve that will patrol those deep rural areas an act in an official capacity," de Jager said.
According to stats collected by TAU SA, Gauteng saw 16 murders and 101 attacks, KwaZulu-Natal had 15 murders and 33 attacks, the Free-State had 10 murders and 50 attacks, Mpumalanga had eight murders and 45 attacks, and the Eastern Cape had eight murders and 19 attacks. In Limpopo there were seven murders and 56 attacks, the Western Cape had four murders and 22 attacks, the Northern Cape had three murders and eight attacks, and North West had zero murders and 63 attacks.
A recent resonate farm murder took place in October last year, when Brendin 'Choppie' Horner, a 21-year-old South African farm manager for the Bloukruin Estate at Paul Roux, Free State, was killed by a suspected stock thief or thieves. His body was recovered at DeRots farm outside Paul Roux, and two suspects were taken into custody. This created a furor in the country with political parties weighing in the matter and exchanging racial slurs.