SA Presidency acknowledges receipt of call for farm murder commission

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The latest spate of farm killings has seen renewed calls for action including a commission of inquiry and an appeal to the national agricultural community to “intensify” security and readiness.

Since the start of June there have been at least eight farm related murders reported in Limpopo and Western Cape.

The call for a commission of inquiry was made to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa by Noko Masipa, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister. Her letter was acknowledged by The Presidency on the same day it was electronically sent.

Part of the Masipa letter reads: “Despite the frequency of farm attacks and murders, the DA and indeed the whole of South Africa, remain perplexed not much is being done to protect our farmers from criminal elements terrorising rural communities. Lawlessness has taken root on our farms and in rural communities but nothing is done to deal with the scourge decisively”.

“If we continue to pursue rural crime prevention as a separate activity from food production value chain, we continue to expose farmers and rural residents to criminal networks,” she warns the South African number one.

Pieter Groenewald’s Freedom Front Plus (FF+) maintains farmers are under siege and cannot be blamed “if they take the law into their own hands to protect themselves”.

“Eight farmers murdered in a week. That is the same number as was murdered in the first three months of this year, according to the latest SA Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics. Government is too quick to label farm murders as ordinary criminality. This excuse has been held up for far too long now,” Groenewald said, adding “burning farm murder victims alive does not amount to ordinary criminality” and pointing out the use of AK-47assault rifles should not qualify for the SAPS “ordinary criminality” descriptor.

While nowhere near the official SAPS statistic of close to 70 murders a day in South Africa, FF+ statistics show one farm murder for every eight rural attacks over the past four years.

He warns: “If the police do not take swift, decisive action to address farm attacks, it should be no surprise if farmers increasingly start taking the law into their own hands”.

AfriForum, long a vociferous campaigner for improved policing in South Africa’s agricultural sector, also made its voice heard in the wake of the latest attacks and deaths.

“AfriForum urges farmers and rural residents to urgently become part of local neighbourhood or farm watches. The only way to curb these horrific attacks is for communities to mobilise and step up preparedness,” Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum community safety spokesman, said.