NEWS & ANALYSIS

20 farm attacks but no murders in January – TLU SA

Last year there were 35 farm attacks and 6 murders in the same month

TLU SA hopeful over marginal decline in farm attacks and murders during January

10 February 2020

TLU SA hopes that the decline in farm attacks and farm murders during January 2020, in comparison to statistics of a year ago, will continue for the rest of the year.

January saw 20 registered attacks and no incidents of murder on farms, according to TLU SA’s official Incidents Register, which has been kept up to date since 1990. In comparison, 35 farm attacks and six farm murders were reported during the first month of 2019.

When comparing the registered incidents (attacks and murders) for January since 2015, we see the following:

2015: 23 farm attacks and 8 murders;

2016: 30 farm attacks and 9 murders;

2017: 26 farm attacks and 4 murders;

2018: 39 farm attacks and 5 murders;

2019: 35 farm attacks and 6 murders;

2020 : 20 farm attacks and no murders.

“Based on this register, we trust that the slightly more favourable situation will continue for the rest of the year,” says Maj-Genl Chris van Zyl, deputy general manager of TLU SA. “The positive trend can probably be attributed to a bigger safety and security awareness under farm and smallholding residents, as well as the quick reaction by neighbours and farm patrols. However, the continuing trend of almost one attack per day – of which we are aware of – is still unacceptably high.”

TLU SA is worried that farm attacks and murders are on the rise instead of declining when looking at the bigger picture comparing the total amount of incidents of 2019 to those of 2018.

“The data of 2019 in comparison with the data from 2018 still show a rise in both the number of registered attacks – 419 to 394 – and the number of murders – 56 to 54,” says Maj-Genl Van Zyl. “In light of this TLU SA is still calling on the government to pay more attention to the prevalence of attacks and other crime on farms.”

TLU SA recommends that the following points receive attention during meetings with the National Commissioner of Police:
- An agriculture-friendly reservist system;
- The local integration of available resources;
- The reconfirmation of farm attacks and murders as priority crimes;
- That farm safety, which affects profitability and sustainability, instead of only farm attacks, will enjoy National Priority status.

The farming community should further focus on using technology, communication and information; and the use of contingency plans as implemented by TLU SA already.

Issued by Chris van Zyl, Deputy General Manager, TLU SA, 10 February 2020