Government is again being taken to task for not doing enough to secure people in rural areas after a 73-year-old farmer’s wife was murdered near Bela-Bela earlier this week.
The woman’s 82-year-old husband was seriously injured in the attack and is, according to reports, in a serious condition in a Pretoria hospital.
The attackers fled with an unknown amount of cash.
SA Police Service spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said in a statement “a massive manhunt” was launched for the four armed suspects apparently responsible for the latest in a string of farm attacks. Freedom Front Plus (FF+), Solidarity and the Transvaal Landbou Unie (TLU) reported 22 attacks on farms in August alone.
FF+ Limpopo provincial leader Marcelle Maritz, repeating an earlier call by the party’s national leader Pieter Groenewald, said the Bela Bela incident was another reason for not only the agricultural community, but also people in urban areas, to up their own security. She also called for farmers and others in rural areas to be part of security organisations, such as those run by local agricultural co-operatives and branches of agricultural organisations as well as community policing forums.
“Government’s rural security plan is not working because police do not have sufficient resources and support,” she said.
Earlier this year the TLU said it was working on collecting data on products and services which could be usefully applied by the agricultural community to protect themselves.
In addition to the FF+, the Democratic Alliance has also used the platform of Parliament to point out that not enough was being done to protect those living and working in South Africa’s agricultural communities.
The police do not maintain separate statistics on farm attacks and murders with statistics collected by TLU showing 277 attacks last year with 55 murders recorded.