On the upside, farm murders decreased in 2018 but on the downside farm attacks showed a sharp increase. Civil rights organisation AfriForum says this indicates that even though the problem is becoming worse, people are looking after their safety better while also defending themselves better.
During a media conference in Centurion AfriForum’s community safety division said approximately 432 farm attacks and 54 farm murders took place in 2018.
“The farming community is fighting back and subsequently there is a decrease in murders. More victims are shooting back, more are being trained and more are defending themselves. The numbers indicate that even though more people survive, there is still an ongoing onslaught on people living on farms. We are seeing that well-organised community safety structures are becoming an iron fist for communities while also serving as a deterrent for threats,” says Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety.
Cameron is of the opinion that AfriForum’s 132 community safety structures and approximately 8 500 active safety members are increasingly offering consolation to communities while also making them defensible. There are various other structures in the country that are also attempting to bring about the same result, but that part of the success of AfriForum’s structures can be attributed to the fact that they form part of a successful national network where unity plays an important role and contributes to an increase in success.
Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, says that the organisation will in the coming year intensify its campaign against farm murders by means of a variety of actions. These include actions on local, national and international level.
AfriForum’s action plan against farm murders for 2019:
- A farm safety audit will be done among AfriForum members, in terms of whereof the risk of farm attacks will be minimised.
- Pertinent focus will in 2019 be placed on strengthening the existing safety structures by making them more effective and accomplishing bigger cooperation between safety structures.
- AfriForum will launch the Wilmien Potgieter fund on 1 February 2019. The aim of this fund is to financially support those children whose lives have been affected by farm attacks.
- AfriForum is planning on making a presentation in parliament regarding the impact of farm murders and steps that can be taken by government to tackle this issue.
- A follow-up liaison tour to the USA will be executed. For the objectives of this tour the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, which has been signed by American President Donald Trump, will be studied for possible application.
- A launch of Ernst Roets’s book Kill the Boer will be arranged in Washington D.C. during the tour. Mariandra Heunis, whose husband was murdered in 2016 in front of her and one of her children, will also accompany AfriForum on tour to broadly represent the victims of farm attacks in South Africa.