Fact Check: South Africa's farm murders in numbers and facts

Fact Check: South Africa's farm murders in numbers and facts

As protesters take to the streets again on Monday to march against farm murders, Briefly.co.za takes a look at some facts about farm murders in South Africa over the past 21 years.

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Protesters are set to march on Monday, 29 October for #BlackMonday, to raise awareness over farm murders in South Africa.

This year, several marches are set to take Mzansi by storm. The main march is set to take place in Tshwane. The march, which will be a 12-hour long protest, starts at 6am on Monday morning. It will end with a hand over of a memorandum.

Valerie Byliefeldt, from Limpopo's National Conservative Party, said the group will call for assistance from US president, Donald Trump.

Briefly.co.za earlier reported that Byliefeldt said the marches hope to get an update from the US leader after his lad expropriation tweet. She added that when the memorandum is handed over, they will ask Trump to intervene in the farm murder issue:

"We are directly asking him for help. ”

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She lambasted him after his live TV broadcast over the issue:

"He went on live television and denied farm murders exist when there have been 62 in the last year. We want to bring this to the attention of the American government.”

In October, AfriForum visited Australia, where the organisation tried to raise awareness about farm attacks and farm murders in South Africa.

The delegation hoped to drum up support from Australian authorities to pressure the South African government into taking action against farm attacks.

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Who is being affected?

The South African Police Service's crime statistics does not break down who is being murdered on farms.

It does not indicate the race, or whether it was a farmer, his family, employees or guests who were attacked.

Furthermore, it's not possible to accurately calculate the murder rates, because there are no official figures for the total number of people who work, , live, or visit farms and smallholdings.

Another factor to take into account is the fact that it's not clear whether white farmers are more at risk than black farmers, or whether farmers are more at risk of being murdered than the general public.

What organisations have to say:

Earlier in October, AfriForum welcomed the ANC's condemnation of farm murders. However, the lobby group said statements alone are not enough to crack down on the crisis.

The organisation pleaded to the government to prioritise farm murders and called on the state to draw up a counter strategy.

The Limpopo branch of the National Conservative Party also invited people to open up cases of hate speech against those who incite racist rhetoric. Julius Malema was cited for this reasoning when he said white people “must be grateful” he has not called for their genocide.

What are the statistics?

Before 1997, the SAPS did not gather farm murder statistics, but the statistics after 1997 have been huge eye openers.

However, AgriSA did collect figures between 1991 and 1997.

According to AfricaCheck, between 1991 and 1997:

  • 677 murders;
  • 3 065 attacks were recorded

But, it's believed these figures focused mainly on commercial farm stats, rather than smallholdings. The accuracy of these figures were also questioned by the 2003 committee of inquiry into farm attacks.

After 1997, SAPS started collecting data on farm attacks and murders. At the time, the police said they don't believe every crime was recorded, as some farmers do not report these crimes to the police.

The 2003 committee of inquiry into farm attacks said the stats between 1997 and 2001 were not completely accurate.

From 2002 to 2007, the police released statistics for farm murders annually. But, from 2007 to 2011, there were no statistics released.

For 2017/18, the statistics showed:

  • 564 attacks on smallholdings and farms;
  • 62 murders.

In October 2017, AfriForum claimed to have statistics that revealed a commercial farm murder rate of:

  • 156 per 100 000.

However, these statistics are also not entirely accurate.

AfriForum indicated that it collected statistics by monitoring traditional and social media, as well as rely on security networks and victims to directly report attacks.

Lorraine Claasen, AfriForum's researcher, said the organisation's statistics differ from the police's stats, because they take residential smallholdings and rural plots in to account as well.

Disclaimer: The SAPS statistics' data base is a ‘live’ system. Statistics obtained are subject to change if new information emerges. The database is not a source of statistics, but an operational tool. As a result, statistics for certain years may change.

Are farm murders politically motivated?

The 2003 committee of inquiry into farm attacks tried to investigate the motives behind farm attacks. It investigated 3 544 cases, between 1998 and 2001, recorded by National Operational Coordinating Committee.

It said there was more than one factor that may motivate a farm attack. But, in 2 644 cases, the committee managed to identify a clear motive.

Beacuse this data is more than a decade old, it cannot be reflective of the current situation.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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