Culture of violence against farmers unacceptable
11 September 2018
Agri SA strongly condemns the continued violence that the farming community and fellow South Africans face daily. The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele announced the latest national crime statistics in parliament this morning. It is worrying that 62 farm murders occurred during 2017/2018. It is 15 murders more than what was announced in parliament earlier this year.
“Murders and attacks on the farming community remain too high and are unacceptable, the public and government should take note of this,” says Kobus Breytenbach, chair of the Agri SA Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety. “If more South Africans and international role players bring this to light, there will be improved action to prevent farm murders and attacks.”
The Agri Securitas Trust Fund has over the past years contributed more that R10 million to farm security and crime prevention and has helped thousands of farmers and farm workers.
“The Agri Securitas Trust Fund’s work over the years to safeguard farming communities is commendable and is delivering good results,” said Breytenbach. “All financial and other support to this fund is of utmost importance.”
According to the statistics released this morning, murders in general have increased since 2011/2012. The murder rate in the 2017/2018 financial year was 6,9% higher than the previous year. Other striking statistics that have been announced are that the so-called trio crimes, namely house robbery, business robbery and hijackings have decreased in the past year, while in the previous year it showed an increase.
“These are the crimes that the farming community are most exposed to and it is detrimental to the livelihoods of those who work in agriculture,” says Breytenbach. “The levels of brutality are too high and effective efforts, supported by intelligence, must be actioned to improve response times and prevent these farm attacks.”
Agri SA has already requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Police to discuss these issues and others in an effort to find solutions for the culture of violence in our farming communities. The Agri SA Securitas Trust Fund already assists various farmers’ associations.
Issued by Thea Liebenberg, Media Liaison Officer, 11 September 2018