A farming community of the Buhrmansdrift, few kilometres outside Mahikeng in the North West have formed a farm patrol watch due to high number of crime cases and farm attacks in the area.
The farming community in various areas of the North West,that include Groot Marico and Lichtenburg amongst others converged in support to the BlackMonday protests across the country.
According to the statistics, there are 56 farm attacks and eleven farm murders since January in the Province.
Traffic disruptions for over two hours in the busy national road N4 in the North West, as the farming community flocked in numbers, in support of the BlackMonday protests across the country.
The murder of one farmer affects many people as approximately one farmer feeds 1 600 mouths every day.
According to AfriForum and Transvaal Landbou Unie, 70 farmers have been killed since the beginning of 2017, six more than the 64 of 2016 in the North West.
Wynand Buys, chairperson for Buhrmansdrift Farmers Union says they have had enough of this:
“We wanted to participate in black monday to send a strong message to the government, violence is getting out of hand not only towards farmers, but toward everybody in South Africa.”
The once lucrative farm of Dave and Bernadette Hall, produced 1 500 litres of milk every day, until 20 February, 2012, when Dave was shot in cold blood in front of his wife.
His wife Bernadette who was severely assaulted then closed the dairy and now farms on a smaller scale.
However Bernadette is calling for government to take this farm attacks more serious:
“Every farm attack we have, whether it’s a murder or just an attack, it doesn’t matter, the chances that the farm goes out of production is 90% and for every farmer we lose, we lose food security. The government really needs to start waking up and realise what is going on in South Africa.”
The chairman of the Buhrmansdrift farm watch, Wikus Marais says they were forced to form such a forum, due to this farm attacks.
Marais says Buhrmansdrif farm patrol, was formed in 2013 and consists of 40 farmers who patrol the area every night for 10 hours, each covering up to 400 kilometres.
He says since the formation of this, crime and attacks reduced.
“Since we started working with police on patrols, it’s dropped more than half. We have minimum of crime and if you have crime, you have small crime, drunk people on the road, but no stock theft, stock theft has dropped with almost 100%, so we can see a lot of difference.”
Road users expressed their frustrations due to the blockade, with one saying:
“If they want to march they must march to the minister of police because it is his responsibility or they must march to the premier of North West. How can people come and block the road and there is no even police or traffic officers here, now it’s a problem.”
According to Transvaal Landbou Unie statistics, 4463 farm attacks have occurred in South Africa this year, resulting to 1921 murders.