Farm murders increased in 2020


While the number of people murdered on farms last year is nowhere near the national toll, it is 11% higher than in 2019.

“The number of farm murders for which we have verified data is 63,” AfriForum researcher Andrea Muller said. In 2019 the Centurion-headquartered civil rights organisation reported 45 farm murders.

AfriForum data collection and research brought to light 383 confirmed farm attacks last year, a decrease from the previous year’s 511.

This is attributed, in part, to lockdown regulations instituted in terms of the national state of disaster declared to curb the spread of COVID-19. Muller notes peoples’ movement were restricted by the lockdown and “more police were out patrolling”.

“There was no change in the level of violence used during attacks on farmers and their workers. Victims were left both tortured and traumatised and in one, a North West couple suffered burns, broken ribs and multiple head wounds when ambushed by three men.

The highest number of farm murders – 15 – was in KwaZulu-Natal with one less in Gauteng. Free State (nine), Eastern Cape (eight) Mpumalanga (seven), Limpopo (five) and Northern Cape (three) make up the 63 total. North West is the only province where no farm murders were reported to AfriForum.

Working with SAAI (Southern African Agri Initiative), AfriForum is launching the safeguard a farm campaign. This will see farmers and others working the land in rural areas trained to provide for their own safety.

“Farmers are increasingly vigilant and AfriForum aims to make them and their families stronger when it comes to defending against farm attacks. We will drive projects, actions and campaigns to improve the safety of farmers and support them wherever we can,” Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum legal and risk manager, said.