Farm attacks worry union

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iol sep 11   crime tape Independent Newspapers

Cape Town - Farm attacks could reach its highest level in eight years if murders continued unabated, the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) said on Friday.

“If the tendency from January 2012... should be applied to 2013, based on the January (2013) figures, 82 people could be murdered in 218 attacks on farms this year,” TAU SA's deputy president Henry Geldenhuys said.

“It would be the highest rate since 2005, when 115 people were killed on farms.”

According to the union, 51 people died in farm attacks last year.

Of these, five murders took place in January 2012.

Eight people were killed in related attacks in January this year.

Geldenhuys said it was inconceivable, in the light of these figures, that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa had not yet responded to their urgent request for discussions a year ago.

“There are many suggestions that we would like to discuss with Mthethwa in order to offer our help, but then he should grasp the opportunity for such discussions with both hands instead of ignoring us or discrediting us in the media.”

On Thursday, Mthethwa told The New Age business breakfast that farms were “not special” and did not deserve to have more police focus than any other area in the country.

“What I have refused to accede to is (the idea) that farms are special areas in our society. No, they are not. They are part and parcel of the rural safety plan,” he said.

Mthethwa said certain agricultural groups had been making farm murders political.

“We have said to those who want to do nasty politicking on this matter that they must take a broader view... and ensure that we talk about rural safety in totality.” - Sapa


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