Monday 15th Jul 2019

KwaZulu-Natal has the second-highest number of farm murders in the country, with 61 known fatalities from 2012 to April 2018. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency/ANA -

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal has the second-highest number of farm murders in the country, with 61 known fatalities from 2012 to April 2018. During the years in review, there were 3 070 farm attacks and 339 farm murders.

This was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele in response to a parliamentary question posed by Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.

North West Province and Gauteng share the No1 spot with 69 farm murders. The Northern Cape had the least farm attacks and murders with 35 and five respectively.

“Farmers feel they are in an unknown war, not knowing when they will be slaughtered,” said a North Coast farmer, who did not want to be named. He felt farmers’ worth was lost on the government. “We are threatened with extinction, which is going to be harmful to the country because food production will be affected. Is this the kind of life we will be living in the future?” asked the emotional farmer, reacting to the recently released statistics. He also spoke of the attack on an oThongathi couple on their farm in April, whom he knew well. Steve Govender, 72, and his wife, Virathapushanam, 70, were attacked at their home just outside oThongathi. Govender’s wife was killed.

“We are prisoners in our own homes. When I was younger, we had no fences, dogs, alarms or security companies, but today I have an electric fence around my house, dogs, alarms, beams and security companies.”

The farmer said police never arrived in time. “They have insufficient vehicles and they do not have enough staff to handle matters, which stops them from doing their duties properly.
“We have hired security companies and formed crime watch groups. When we see people who are not normally in the area, and vehicles that look suspect to us, we phone each other, the police and the security company. This is how we are surviving,” he said.

The sugar cane, litchi and vegetable farmer gets up at 4am and is out of the house by 5am. He drives around the farm, checking on or harvesting crops and taking them to the market.

“All the time we are looking over our shoulder; I have employed two more people to keep us company because we are not safe as we work,” he said.

Responding to the statistics, Khayelihle Nkwanyana, provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson, said the government was extremely worried about the farm murders because this created an untenable situation in the agricultural sector and in the economy.

“Farm killings are happening against farmers and farmworkers. We still have farmers who maim and kill members of farming communities. On the other hand we have farmers killings, for which no one has established the real cause, whether they are pure criminal acts or co-ordinated attacks, but both of them are a great concern. The figures cited for KZN are astounding indeed,” ­Nkwanyana said.

“Our fear is that if these killings are more co-ordinated, rather than pure crime, then we are heading for a situation where the sector will collapse and our economy, including food security, will go down, for good. We have a moral duty to protect it by all means,” he said.

Daily News

Well-known farmer stabbed to death outside his house in Lutzville

Jaco Louw's body was discovered with several stab wounds by a farmworker on his farm near Lutzville on the West Coast. Photo: Twitter / Ian Cameron -

Cape Town – A well-known farmer was stabbed to death outside his home in the Lutzville area on the West Coast on Sunday. According to Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, the murder of the 57-year-old, identified as Jaco Louw, is believed to have happened around 10.45am. His body was discovered with several stab wounds by a farmworker.

"According to information, police attended to the scene and upon their arrival they found a body of a 57-year-old man with (a) stab wound to his body," Rwexana said. No one has been arrested yet for the murder, she added.

On Facebook, Afriforum's head of community safety, Ian Cameron, said Louw was one of their farm safety watch members. Cameron told Netwerk24: "It's believed that he lived alone on the farm outside the town. Such a brutal murder is rare in the Lutzville area."

MEC for Community Safety Alan Winde said crime is reaching rampant proportions in the Western Cape, with 10 cases of murder and 10 cases of attempted murder being reported every day.

Billy Claasen, executive director of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation, told News24: "It is a barbaric attack on a member of the agricultural community of our beautiful region. Agriculture is the economic hub of our region and the West Coast is also one of the food baskets of the Western Cape province," he said. "We want to convey our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and the agricultural community."

Cape Times

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