KZN farm attacks down

Lowest level in 16 years, says report

The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, has released its annual analysis of attacks and murders which took place in farming areas in the province in 2018. The report, which includes information and statistics collected by Kwanalu’s Security Desk and verified with relevant sources, shows attacks and murders on farms last year to be at the lowest level in 16 years.

The report also determines that, in all cases where evidence has been led, socio-economic issues appeared to be the reasons for the attacks with no direct link to land, politics or race. The report also highlights that in many of the attacks inadequate security measures were in place, and that perpetrators were not afraid to attack in daylight hours.

Farmers must ensure that adequate security measures have been taken, wherever possible. Picture: Raphael Rychetsky/ Unsplash

“The safety and security of our members is of utmost importance to us and a strategic focus area of the organisation. We have a duty to empower farmers with knowledge and fact-based statistics with our annual analysis of farm attacks and murders to ensure our members and associated security stakeholders are fully and correctly informed about the nature and circumstances of crimes that have taken place in farms in the province, so that they are even better prepared,” said Kwanalu chief executive Sandy La Marque.

Dissemination of the data and statistics collected by Kwanalu between January 1 and December 31, 2018, offers farmers and stakeholders insight and relevant information based on factual evidence. The data in the report was conducted in commercial farming areas and includes all people who live on commercial farms in these areas.

Farmers play a key role in developing a healthy nation and providing food security. Picture: Gabriel Jimenez/Unsplash

The statistics presented indicate that one murder took place in the province, involving three attackers who gained access at night by digging underneath an electric fence and breaking a door. There have not been any arrests yet in connection with this case.

Firearms

There were 24 farm attacks in the province last year with the majority taking place on a Tuesday and a Thursday. Twelve of the 24 attacks took place in the farm house, seven of the 24 in the farm yard and five on the farm. Weapons used in these 24 attacks were broken down as follows: 14 firearms, 4 knives/ axe/ bush knives and 6 “other”. The total number of attackers in the 24 cases was calculated at 74, with the primary target indicating firearms and/or cash from wages or stock sales.

Commenting on the data, La Marque noted: “What is clear is that … these attacks are not motivated by race, land or politics but rather by socio-economic circumstances that lead to opportunistic crimes.”

The data also reveals that in many incidents inadequate security measures were in place.

“We urge all farmers to use every security measure at their disposal and to regularly check that these are in working order,” said La Marque.

Associations

She also encouraged all farmers to join their local farmer/landowner associations for access to security information and support.

“A vital role of organised agriculture is that of the safety and security of our members. As a body, we are able to represent farmers on the provincial structures of safety and security, are able to assist with crime follow-ups and assist members with advice on criminal matters and procedures, provide a direct link to the SAPS and provide expert evidence in court, as well as supply members with accurate and tangible information on best security practices,” said La Marque

“We reiterate the need for farmers to remain vigilant at all times and look after themselves and those in their community by the forging of relationships, joining their local farmers’ associations and by building trust within local communities,” she said.

For further information, visit www.kwanalu.co.za or call 033 342 9393.