AfriForum seeks “equal treatment” for farm attacks and murders

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While nowhere near the over 85 murders a day in South Africa, the country’s agricultural population reports a murder a week with civil rights grouping AfriForum asking why there isn’t a specialised approach to what it calls the “unique crimes” of farm attacks and murders.

The Centurion-headquartered organisation, noting Police Minister Bheki Cele did not make public the latest crime statistics, maintained this was indicative of unwillingness to “face the facts”, particularly as regards priority crimes which it says farm murders should be.

The daily crime rate, taken from SA Police Service (SAPS) statistics stands at 85.7 a day – massively more than the 49 farm murders recorded in 2023/24 by AfriForum. Farm attacks, it said when releasing its agricultural sector criminal statistics, numbered 296 – just under six – a week.

AfriForum Community Safety Head, Jacques Broodryk, has it no one murder can or should be considered less important than another asking for a specialised approach, as with priority rated crimes such as cash-in-transit (CIT) heists, illegal mining and politically driven killings. These crimes have been singled out for specialist treatment by way of what he called “special ministerial task teams for prevention and investigation” – missing when it comes to farm attacks and murders.

He asks of the apparent lack of commitment why President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration does not apply the same modus operandi.

“A specialised approach to unique crimes is to be welcomed. There are questions as to why the South African government refuses to follow the same approach with farm attacks and murders. In certain cases, the occurrence of farm attacks and murders is much higher, more violent and requires a more specialised approach than for some of the prioritised crimes,” he said.

To support his view he notes there were 40 political assassinations in South Africa last year and 41 murders were reported in connection with illegal mining. An AfriForum database shows 49 farm murders in the same timeframe. “Two hundred and thirty-four CIT robberies in 2023 resulted in specialist action. By contrast 296 farm attacks are seemingly ignored,” he said calling this evidence of government double standards.

“AfriForum does not ask for special treatment of farm murders and attacks – we simply ask for equal treatment,” Broodryk said.