Parliament | The excessively high percentage of murders on farms and the brutality thereof in many instances, which creates the impression that it isn’t ordinary crime, has necessitated the Freedom Front Plus to call for a debate on farm murders, Dr. Pieter Groenewald, Leader of the Freedom Front Plus, says.
Farm murders were discussed in Parliament for the first time since the advent of democracy in South Africa, 23 years after 1994.
Dr. Groenewald said in his speech that the uncomfortable truth about farm murders can no longer be ignored. He also emphasized that not only white people die in farm attacks, although they make out the majority, according to statistics.
He said where the world’s average figure for murders is 7 in every 100 000 of the population, it is 33 in every 100 000. Regarding police, the figure is 54, while for farmers it is 133 farmers being murdered in every 100 000 of the population.
“This means that it is nearly three times more dangerous to be a farmer in South Africa than it is to be a police officer,
“Of note is the fact that the agricultural sector contributes 6,9% to the country’s GDP, and provides work to approximately one million people. Nearly everything you ate or drank today, apart from water, was produced by farmers,
“Figures obtained from the South African Police Service, show that since 1991 there has been 2 393 murders and 14 589 farm attacks,
“There is a perception that only whites are murdered in farm attacks. This is not true. Research shows that 40% of all victims of farm attacks are black,
“Where police statistics show that there was a decline in attacks last year, it should be kept in mind that farmers are increasingly taking steps to safeguard themselves,
“Yet, former president Thabo Mbeki undertook to establish something in the place of the commando system which he had disbanded. Sector policing would have filled this role. This is however not effectively enough. Many of the police offices in rural areas have not yet started with it,
“Of those police stations which do have sector policing, approximately 50% do not meet the minimum requirements. I had a call from Upington yesterday where there is only one vehicle and four police members to service an area of 184 farms,
“It is clear that sector policing is not successful, and I call on government to give attention to it,
“The generalisation that farm workers who are treated poorly is the reason for the attacks, is also not true. The Police’s research shows that less than 2% of the attackers and victims are known to each other. Furthermore, that about 2% of the attacks are politically motivated,” Dr. Groenewald said.
Dr. Groenewald said that it is not ordinary crime when people are tortured until they die, where a woman is raped for hours on end while her husband is forced to watch, where people’s heads are crushed and they are set alight, or where an electrical drill is used to drill holes in a woman’s feet after she had already been tortured in other ways.
“In one instance in Parys, a farmer’s testicles were cut off and eaten by the attackers after they had cooked it. This is the shocking and uncomfortable truth of farm murders which can no longer be ignored,” Dr. Groenewald said.