AfriForum has rubbished the report by AgriSA saying farm murders have declined sharply over the past two decades as its own statistics differ. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency/ANA
The government should take some blame for the debate that is taking place around farm murders in South Africa. It is unacceptable that a country as developed as ours is unable to make a clear determination on the number of farmers killed annually within our borders.

According to AgriSA’s latest report, farm murders have declined sharply over the past two decades. The AgriSA report, which is based on an analysis of the South African Police Service crime statistics, states that farm murders reached a 20-year low in 2017/18, when 47 murders were reported, compared to the 153 reported in the 1997/98 financial year.

However, AfriForum has rubbished the report, saying its own statistics differ from those provided by AgriSA.

RELATED: Farm murders at ‘20-year low’

AfriForum’s own data has revealed that farm murders are on the rise, with 84 of these being reported last year.

While most would like to believe AgriSA stats, it’s worrying that figures for the 2007/8 to 2009/10 financial years are missing, even though we know this is not AgriSA’s fault.

The decision by the police minister to release the statistics on farm attacks and farm murders is welcomed.

However, the confusion that we now find ourselves in could have been avoided if the government had not stopped releasing these stats many years ago.

This goes to show that transparency and openness, when dealing with critical issues such as farm killings, is absolutely imperative. For the government and community to effectively tackle farm attacks and farm murders, all the necessary information, including statistics, must be readily available when needed.

From now on, we hope the government in general, and the Police Ministry in particular, will redeem themselves by making sure that all categories of crime are made available to the public. No attempt must be made to hide the truth, no matter how painful. It must be remembered that the loss of human life is the common denominator in murders, be they on farms or elsewhere in the country. We urge everyone on farms and in cities and towns countrywide to help the police in their efforts to stop crime.

Cape Argus