Spate of farm murders a shocking and disturbing start to 2015 - Agri SA

Johannes Möller says from the nature of the recent crimes it is apparent that there is no single solution to the problem


The recent spate of farm murders served as a shocking and disturbing start to 2015, causing immeasurable grief and anguish for many families and communities. Agri SA extends its condolences to the next of kin of these victims.

The widespread incidence of violent crime, especially in agriculture, is indicative of a community where there are serious shortcomings in terms of values such as respect for life and property. 

Such criminals, apparently, holds the view that their crimes can remain unpunished. Agri SA believes that the vast majority of South Africans find this situation untenable and look forward to circumstances where their safety and security are not a constant concern.

From the nature of the recent crimes it is apparent that there is no single solution to the problem. For this reason we need both short- and long-term actions to curb this trend and to manage it down to an acceptable level.

Agri SA wishes to thank the police who in most cases already arrested the alleged criminals. And yet, current circumstances confirm the need for a more effective police force who will implement the rural safety strategy with the necessary dedication.

This includes the rolling out the revised reservist system and regular farm patrols as part of visible policing. Closer cooperation between the police and farming communities and mutual communication can also contribute towards curbing current crime levels.

For various reasons, farms and smallholdings are soft targets for criminals, even more so when it is occupied by the elderly.  Greater alertness at household level and involvement in community protection systems such as farm guards can, therefore, serve as a point of departure to help safeguard communities.

This includes enforcing the farm access protocol which Agri SA negotiated with authorities; more cautious interaction with strangers visiting the farm or with workers with whom the farmer is unfamiliar; the monitoring of the movement of strangers in an area by means of a boom gates; and the use of security equipment.

While the scope for committing crime should be reduced by the above mentioned, the long-term challenge is to build forth on a value system with which most South Africans can identify. This responsibility rests on the shoulders of parents, community leaders, educational institutions, religious groups, the business community, the media, enforcers of law and politicians.

This requires leading by example and cooperation on various fronts. Furthermore, economic opportunities should be unlocked in such a way that every person who wishes to work has an opportunity to fulfil his or her basic needs in an honourable manner.

Statement issued by Mr Johannes Möller, President Agri SA, January 15 2015

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