DA questions veracity of SAPS’ stats on farm murders
16 November 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) questions the veracity of the quarterly statistics on farm attacks and murders put out by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Thursday. We are of the view that these statistics are severely underreported. Particularly related to the increase in farm murders of 62.5%.
Over the past number of months, the DA has been received numerous reports from farming communities across the country who have been turned away from SAPS stations and refused the right to open a case.
We have watched as farm attacks have been downplayed year after year, deliberately so we believe, as a logical follow-up of the SAPS removing reportage on farm attacks and murders from their official crime statistics releases for many years. We therefore believe that the percentages, particularly related to farm murders and attacks should be much higher than reported.
In KwaZulu-Natal, for example, we received reports of farm residents being turned away from a SAPS station when they attempted to open a case in relation to a farm attack. The farm manager was attacked and severely beaten up, left in a pool of blood, managed to escape and is in hospital. The SAPS from Donnybrook allegedly told the residents they cannot open a case until the farm manager recovers and lays the charges himself.
We have report after report of no CAS number being sent to persons in rural areas who have opened a case, which means what? That the police doesn’t believe there is a case? That there is no investigation taking place?
We also have reports from our Provincial Heads of the DA Rural Safety Workstream, with Gauteng seeming to be a particular problem in terms of under-reporting these farm attacks.
It is ridiculous that the SAPS would apparently attempt to distort the truth of farm attacks and murders and other farm-related crimes, whilst at the same time delaying justice for the victims.
Instead of investigating these crimes, the police seek to ignore them. Stock theft is through the roof, and stock theft syndicates are quite possibly behind many of the attacks, yet the Minister of Police has not called for a mass investigation into the syndicates, but for an audit of the sheep and cattle.
It is exactly due to this dithering on the part of the Minister and his department that the DA launched our Court Watching Briefs Units across all nine provinces to ensure that cases are being follow up on and that these cases see the inside of a courtroom.
We call on the SAPS to do their jobs at the same level in our rural areas, as they do in our urban areas. To declare clearly and unequivocally that these Rural Attacks will be declared to be Priority Crimes, as are the Cash in Transit heists. The rural stations need the additional staffing and equipment that title of Priority Crime brings with it. We cannot go on behaving as if our farming communities mean less to South African than a truck full of cash.
Our Agricultural sector is a Strategic Asset and must be protected. Turning away family members, or colleagues who attempt to open a case at their local SAPS is unconscionable.
A raft of questions will go to the Minister of Police today, and we have asked that every such incident be reported to us. We will be asking if an instruction has gone out to downplay these attacks.
Issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Shadow Minister of State Security, 16 November 2020