Two decades of shockingly low arrest and conviction rates for KZN farm murders and attacks
28 September 2020
An extensive written parliamentary reply (view here) to questions posed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has revealed staggeringly low arrest and conviction rates for the past two decades when it comes to murders and attacks against farmers and farm workers in the province.
The response, by KZN Community Safety MEC, Bheki Ntuli, covers the period 2000 to June 2020 and shows that;
- Only 43.7% of the total number of murder cases involving farmers ended in conviction
- Just 56.7% of the total number of arrests involving the murder of farmers ended in conviction
- Just 30.2% of the total number of cases involving the murder of farm workers ended in conviction and;
- 42.4% the total number of arrests involving the murder of farm workers ended in conviction.
The same reply also includes information on attacks on farmers and farmworkers with the following statistics recorded between 2000 and June 2020;
- In terms of attacks on farmers, only 20.7% of the total number of cases opened ended in conviction while just 49.7% of arrests ended in conviction and;
- In terms of attacks on farm workers, just 15.8% of all cases opened resulted in convictions while only 34.7% of the total number of arrests ending in conviction.
The DA is shocked but not surprised at the staggeringly low number of arrest and convictions when it comes to these heinous and often brutal crimes. The findings prove – yet again – that inaction by the province’s ANC government, for years on end now, lies at the heart of the crime problems being experienced in our farming communities. If criminals know that they are unlikely to be caught and spend time in jail then there is no deterrent for such horrific acts.
The damning figures also come just a week after National Police Minster, Bheki Cele, arrogantly attacked farmers and incited further racial tensions at a meeting in Normandien. Regrettably, this came just after the community had held a progressive meeting with KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala the same weekend.
The statistics produced by the DA again affirm that combating farm-related crimes is an extremely complicated issue, which requires proper leadership. Certainly, there can be no place for grandstanding by arrogant Ministers when the lives of our rural communities hangs in the balance.
It is now urgent that a solid and feasible plan is implemented in order to turn the current situation around. It is in this light that the DA has submitted a follow-up written parliamentary question to MEC Ntuli and to SAPS in a bid to ascertain the state of police services within our province’s rural and farming communities. The DA has also begun to probe the state of land reform in the province and government’s response to the needs of farm workers. We will also engage with our national colleagues in order to probe the low conviction rate in the Justice system.
The DA in KZN has already submitted a 10-point rural safety plan to MEC Ntuli, KZN Agriculture MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi and Premier Zikalala. By implementing this, along with the DA’s national rural safety strategy, this ANC-led government can curb farm related crimes. Regrettably, it seems that – like the non-existent fight against corruption - the political will to protect our farmers and farm workers is absent.
The DA will not rest until farmers and farm workers are properly protected and treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
Issued by Chris Pappas, DA KZN Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development, 28 September 2020