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White crosses for slain white farmers. Photo: FWM

South Africa: ANC continues to ignore farm murders

It is a staggering statistic but the South African government insists that it is not happening: During September 2019, there were forty-six farm attacks and seven farm murders, whilst one farm attack was averted.

Published: October 23, 2019, 9:37 am

    Authorities continue to deny the existence of these heinous crimes.

    During August 2019, in South Africa, there were 45 farm attacks, 4 farm murders, whilst 6 farm attacks were successfully averted. Nineteen farm attacks and two farm murders were already noted in the first half of August 2019. During July 2019, there were 39 farm attacks, 4 farm murders and 4 farm attacks were averted.

    During the month of June 2019, there were 34 farm attacks and 6 farm murders, whilst 3 farm attacks were averted. And for the period 1 January to the end of May 2019, there were already 184 Farm attacks and 20 farm murders.

    Gangs and violence may be getting the attention from the South African police (SAPS) as priority crimes, but the denial by the government that farm attacks exist, even if it involves extreme violence, torture and rape continues to alarm the civilised world.

    There is little being done to address the crisis in which white South Africans are being targeted. The most recent data was supplied by The Rome Research Institute of South Africa.

    Agricultural union TLU SA has expressed concern over the attacks on and murders of white farmers, even though it showed a small decrease in the 2018/19 financial year. The annual crime statistics were presented in parliament by the minister of Police, General Bheki Cele on 12 September this year.

    According to Cele, 47 farm murders were reported in 41 incidents. The Incidents Register of TLU SA kept since 1990 shows 48 murders in 357 events in the 2018/19 financial year.

    “The reports on farm murders are more or less on par with ours, but our numbers of attacks differ quite a lot,” said Henry Geldenhuys, the Deputy President of TLU SA and Chairman of the Safety Committee. “It is, however, concerning that our farm murder numbers for this year have already reached 40 by the end of August.

    “The decreasing murder rate can be attributed to the highly successful safety structures created by TLU SA and others, and its expansion into farming communities. These structures lead to many attacks being foiled because the network is so alert and responds quickly.”

    According to the police’s statistics the biggest targeted group in farm murders are males between the ages of 50 and 71, and they are attacked with firearms in most of the cases. In August Cele admitted in parliament that the South African Police Service ‘lost’ more than 9,5 million rounds of ammunition and 4 537 firearms in the past six financial years.

    “This acknowledgement is problematic for us,” said Geldenhuys. “It is counterproductive to reduce farm murders and attacks, but then the ammunition and firearms are put back into circulation.

    “We are also concerned about the increase in livestock theft (2,9 percent) which increased over the past three years. It also concerns us that there is an underreporting of stock theft, as found by Willie Clack of Unisa and reported by the National Livestock Theft Priority Committee,” he says. “We will keep Genl. Cele to his promise to take stock theft very seriously.”

    The statistics show that, in general, serious crimes increased during the 2018/19 financial year. Contact crimes increased by 2,6 percent. This includes sexual offences (4,6 percent), murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (2,2 percent), common assault (3,7 percent), robbery (2 percent) and robbery with aggravating circumstances (1,2 percent).

    Murder increased by 3,4 percent to 21 022 – the seventh consecutive year of increasing – while attempted murder increased by 4,1 percent to 18 980. Some 58 people are murdered in South Africa every day.

    “Even though crimes on farms have decreased we are apprehensive about the increase in especially serious and violent crimes in the country,” Geldenhuys said. “It is the government’s constitutional responsibility to protect its residents, but because of poor government policies and the neglect in taking this responsibility, South Africa is burning.

    “It is time for the rest of South Africa to take a leaf from the book of agriculture and start making plans to curb crime by itself.”

    The dysfunctional ANC government is actively driving the agricultural sector over an economic cliff. It is responsible for the accelerating rate of food security destruction South Africa is facing, according to Johan Steyn, Chairman of the regional TLU SA Eastern Cape.

    The revelation that the government failed to convince the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) of South Africa’s foot-and-mouth free status, highlighted the ANC regime’s sheer incompetence.

    “According to our information, the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform was scheduled to deliver two presentations to the OIE,” Steyn said. “The objective of these presentations was to reinstate the country’s foot-and-mouth free status. At the first presentation the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI) refused to release the serological test results because the Department of Agriculture owes them money. At the second presentation, Onderstepoort could perform no tests as samples had not been received from Limpopo Province. Provincial technicians refused to take the cattle samples as they are not paid overtime to do the sampling.”

    Steyn points out that the continuing ban on the export of live breeding animals, game and meat has brought all export trade in these products to a grinding halt. In addition, the wool price has plummeted by around 40 percent over the past year with storage facilities filled to capacity with wool that cannot be exported.

    The price for slaughter stock continues to fall, despite a paucity of slaughter animals due to the relentless drought. The root of the problem is disease-ridden feral livestock freely wandering across the border with Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries. This is due to the derelict border fences that are no longer maintained nor managed by the department.

    He says it is absurd and unacceptable that the survival of the largest agricultural sector in South Africa, namely livestock, hangs in the balance thanks to a dysfunctional government and its incapable officials.

    “We are not pleading for our existence, we are in fact demanding that the government fulfills its part of the social contract it has with the citizens of this country,” says Steyn. “Certain roleplayers in organised agriculture are recommending the kid glove approach with government to solve the problem. In my opinion, similar to the SAPS simply ‘monitoring’ the continued plundering, looting and destruction of private property, this approach is unlikely to bear any fruit.

    “Producers pay significant tax and comply with the laws and regulations of this country. In return we expect that the government and their highly paid officials carry out their tasks diligently and effectively… to the benefit of the entire country and all its citizens.”

    He pointed out that many of the world class systems that have placed South Africa at the forefront of various agricultural sectors worldwide, have been developed over many years by agricultural organisations, individuals and others in the sector.

    “This expertise is still available in the private sector and will be applied in the interests of producers and to the detriment of state coffers. For example, private companies are very profitably and effectively filling the void left by the collapsed Onderstepoort through the manufacture of vaccines and other veterinary medicines essential to the livestock and other industries, both locally and in Africa. Increasingly, this expertise will be applied to maintain and expand the sector’s success. The fact is that the government is rapidly making itself irrelevant to the private sector,” he added.

    “The livestock industry makes a significant contribution to state coffers. It earns valuable foreign exchange through the export of wool, hides, meat, game and breeding stock. The export of practically all these products is forbidden since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease earlier this year. The livestock industry is one of the largest markets for maize in the form of animal feed. In addition, the survival of companies supplying veterinary medicines, animal feed, livestock handling equipment and transport are all dependent upon the well-being of the livestock sector.”

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