AgriSA concern over farm killings

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The South African Agricultural Industry (AgriSA) says they are concerned about the brutality and violence on farmers.

A week ago, farmer Attie Jooste was killed allegedly by three men on his farm at Jan Kempdorp in the Northern Cape.

Sixty-year-old Jooste is the first to be killed at his farm in Jan Kempdorp, in the Northern Cape – at the start of 2018. Three people have been arrested in connection with Jooste’s murder. They are aged 19, 24 and 27. Their case has been remanded until Tuesday for a formal bail application.

Police statistics shows that 446 farm attacks and 49 farm murders were recorded in the 2015/2016 financial year. The number increased in the 2016/2017 financial year, with 638 farm attacks and 74 murders recorded.

Farmers are one of the sole providers for food security. Northern Cape Farmers Union Chairperson Sehularo Sehularo says if a farmer is killed – it affects not only production but employees as well.

“It’s really sad, because as farmers we are employers, and at times we find that it’s my own farm, I’m employing about four or five people. If a farmer is killed it simply means that those people are unemployed, because you find at times a farmer alone – farms on his own, once I die the operation dies with me, so it affects other people not only me,” said Sehularo.

The Union intends to host a stock theft and farm killing indaba. Sehularo says all roleplayers need to come to the table and discuss this problem.

“Stock theft and farm killings at times go hand in hand. People who kill farmers they go to farms with the intention of stealing, and then if maybe the farmer realise that there are people on his farm then he reacts, and then these people kill him, so we intend having an indaba with the police – in fact with all role-players, so that there is something that will assist both farmers and the government.”

Chairperson of AgriSA’s Rural Safety Committee, Kobus Visser, says they are concerned about brutality and violence on farmers.

“AgriSA has always been concerned about amount of violence in rural farming communities, especially the farm attacks and the brutality on farmers, and the torture that some of these farmers have to endure during these farm attacks, and that is why AgriSA through its trust fund assist farming communities, especially your farmer association with additional funding to help protect their members against these farm attacks. These funds are being utilised to purchase technology to help and assist the farming community to protect themselves against farm attacks,” he said.

Visser says they have put forward a proposal to the Police Minister on how to implement a more effective rural strategy. The proposal is now considered by the Ministry and an announcement is expected to be made soon, he adds.