The recent spike in violent farm attacks and murders have led to government officials speaking out and asking for immediate action. Police Minister Bheki Cele heeded the growing call for improved policing of the country’s farming precincts when he announced a more complete and improved rural safety strategy.
During a broadcast interview, ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) leader Kenneth Moshoe called for farm attacks and murders to be classified as “priority crimes”.
“We need food to survive. Food producers help people from all walks of life. Therefore, when farmers and their workers are killed, the entire nation should scream.”- Kenneth Moshoe
Deputy President, David Mabuza, following the brutal murder of Glen and Vida Rafferty, has called on all South Africans to value farmers and farm workers and to pursue a better country, wherein all citizens can live in peace with one another.
“This is what defines who we are as a nation and should be the guiding light within our communities. Even in difficult times, our prevailing challenges must not lead us to despair and to engage in all that is against our humanity as a people. We must remain resolute in building a better South Africa that values human life”- Deputy President Mabuza.
A 2003 Safety and Security Ministerial Committee conducted an inquiry into farm attacks and found, aside from the attack itself, those who survived, including other nearby farmers, were left with increased anxiety that another attack could occur, and fear for their safety.
Research also showed that those who survived attacks take between 18 months to five years on average to get their farm productive again, placing livelihood stress on the farmer, workers and their families. In many cases, the farmer chooses to abandon his/her farm because they fear for their safety.
“The one thing that differentiates farm murders and attacks from other crimes committed in South Africa, is the brutality with which they are executed.”- Tommy Esterhuyse, Agri South Africa’s Rural Safety Chairperson.
These brutal attacks need to stop. Farmers are a crucial part of any country’s economic stability and these high murder rates influence the job security of many farm workers. In 1994 there were approximately 120 000 farmers who provided jobs and fresh produce. Today, there are only around 35 000 farmers left.
Farmers grow scared of farm attacks and murders and the danger is deterring other young farmers from entering the industry. Farming in South Africa is one of the most dangerous careers in the world.
It has turned into a genocide, and many of South Africa’s government officials are turning a blind eye towards the problem, acting as if it is a problem that will go away if it is ignored for long enough and ignoring the pleas from citizens who face this brutality every day, and also those who fled the country out of fear for the safety for themselves and their families.
Please do something, before the lives of more people who make a valuable contribution to South Africa, are lost!
“A farm is more than lands and crops. It’s a family’s future and heritage.”– Anonymous