Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader, Pieter Groenewald, concerned about the high murder rate in South Africa is worried the even higher rate of farm murders and attacks is going to affect national food security.
He, after having to specifically ask for information on farm attacks and murders not supplied by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula during his crime statics presentation earlier this week, said farm murders were up 27,5% in the 2016/17 financial year and farm attacks up by 22,9%.
The actual numbers show there have been 74 farm murders and 638 farm attacks this year, compared to 58 and 519 for the previous financial year.
Police statics show the 20 year period from 1996 to 2016 saw 1 700 farm murders and 12c 245 farm attacks.
“The figures for farm attacks have increased for three consecutive years and since the 2014/15 year has shown an increase of over 28%,” he said adding he cannot understand why the SA Police Service and the police Minister do not want to make this information public.
“Farm murders are important because agriculture is a strategic sector of industry and essential to food security,” he said.
Groenewald point out South Africa’s murder rate is currently 34 per 100 000 of population. When it comes to the agricultural sector this rises to 130 per 100 000.
“As a province Western Cape is vulnerable because it has 15 of 34 police stations where the SAPS rural safety strategy has not been implemented,” he said ascribing the recent spate of seven murders in the DA-governed province to this.
“It’s easy for the criminals there at present and the agricultural community in the province would be well-advised to increase their security measures and networks.”