Farm murders now a priority crime


The SA Police Service has indicated that farm murders will be officially prioritised following a meeting between senior police management and the Centurion-headquartered civil society organisation, AfriForum.

Ernst Roets, AfriForum deputy chief executive, said the meeting became reality after acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, earlier indicated farm murders and other crimes committed against the country’s agricultural community should enjoy greater priority.

A statement issued by the police said incidents of crime and violence on farms and smallholdings have been identified as an emerging priority in the current (2016/17) financial year. This is part of the integrated approach taken by police management toward eradicating crime and criminality in South Africa.
“It is for that reason we have resolved to properly define these incidents as acts of violence against persons residing on, working on or visiting farms and smallholdings; whether with intent to murder, rape, rob or inflict bodily harm. These include farm owners, farm workers and all other citizens of this country, irrespective of race, colour, creed, religion or sex.
“In addition, all acts of violence against infrastructure and property in rural communities aimed at disrupting legal farming activities as a commercial concern are also included,” the statement said, committing the Police Service to stakeholders including AfriForum and organised agricultural unions nationally, to “collaborative efforts” to stop these crimes.

Police analysis of farm and rural crimes has shown the perpetrators involved in any one farm crime number between two and eight; they are mostly male and are generally foreign nationals aged between 20 and 35.

Victims are in the 50 plus age group.

In the 2010/11 financial year there were 80 reported murders on farms and smallholdings which dropped to 49 in the 2015/16 year. Similarly incidents of violence have dropped from 532 in 2010/11 to 446 in 2015/16.

KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Limpopo and Gauteng have been identified as hotspot provinces with 11 police stations having two or more incidents of either murder or other crime reported. The stations are KwaDukuza (KwaZulu-Natal), Brits, Rustenberg, Mooinooi (North West), Hercules, Hekpoort and Muldersdrift (Gauteng), Modimolle, Westenburg, Letsitile and Lephalale (Limpopo).

As far as convictions are concerned, sentences ranging from 25 to 80 years have been handed down but police did not indicate the number of people jailed for farm murders.