A report by AgriSA has found that farm murder rates have decreased to the lowest in 20 years. This contradicts statements from AfriForum and Die Suidlanders that farm murders in the country are out of control.
According to News24, AgriSA's figures — which were based on police statistics, research and media reports — there has, however, been a slight increase in farm attacks. They increased from 478 in 2016/2017 to 561 in 2017/2018.
This increase in attacks, however, is nowhere near the record high reported in 2001/2002, when 1,069 farm attacks were recorded.
According to AgriSA's statistics, farm murders decreased from 66 recorded incidents in 2016/2017 to 47 in 2017/2018. The record high for farm murders was 153 killings, recorded in 1997/1998.
Kobus Visser, AgriSA's director for rural safety and general affairs, said: "The agricultural community alone cannot be held responsible for combating crime. It remains the government's responsibility to keep all citizens safe; however, the threat to rural safety is of such a nature that the farming community must continue to ensure [its] own security."
Visser said that according to the statistics, North West recorded the most farm attacks with 722, followed by Gauteng with 644.
"Most murders occurred in Gauteng, namely 69, while KwaZulu-Natal and North West each recorded 61 murders. In the analysis of Gauteng's statistics, it is important to take into account that most farm attacks occur on smallholdings."
"The figures provide a clear picture of the magnitude of farm attacks, and the threat to farm safety that the community experiences daily."
He added that over the past 19 years, AgriSA and the police had recorded a total of 12,567 farm attacks and 1,733 murders.