KZN leading in farm murders: AfriForum
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Durban - KWAZULU-NATAL is the leading province with the most farm murders recorded in 2020, according to statistics released by AfriForum.
The statistics were released two days after two best friends, Nhlanhla Mhlongo, 22, and Sakhile Cele, 25, were arrested and appeared in court for murder of retired KZN farmer Goberdhan “Dan” Sahadew, 74, at his home at Holmbosch Farm on February 6, 2021, from which he ran a tuck shop.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the friends allegedly locked the door, assaulted, strangled, and stabbed Sahadew once on the chest. They took his cellphones, shotgun, cash and other items and drove away in his vehicle. The vehicle was later found abandoned not far from the crime scene. His body was found by customers.
Mhlongo and Cele appeared in the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court for robbery and murder and were remanded into custody until February 23 for a bail application.
AfriForum researcher Andrea Muller delivered the statistics and said there was an increase in farm murders in 2020 compared to 2019.
“AfriForum Research recorded 63 farm murders for 2020, whereas the organisation recorded 45 farm murders for 2019,” said Muller.
“There were 382 confirmed farm attacks during 2020, which is a decrease from 511 farm attacks that occurred in 2019. Most attacks occurred in August 2020,” said Muller.
She said the decrease could be attributed to the lockdown which restricted movement and resulted in more police patrols.
“There were 63 confirmed farm murders during 2020, which is a sharp increase from 45 murders in 2019,” explained Muller.
January was the only month where no farm murders were recorded, unlike December, where the most murders occurred.
The most farm murders were committed in KZN, Gauteng and the Free State, whereas no farm murder was committed in the North West.
“The high incidence of farm murders in KZN is great cause for concern. Fifteen farm murders were recorded for KZN in 2020, compared to six farm murders recorded in 2019,” said Muller.
Almost a quarter of the murder victims were between 60 and 69-years-old and the majority of the victims were older than 50 years.
The statistics further revealed that 111 victims were involved in farm attacks during which at least one victim was killed.
On average, there were between two and three attackers per incident.
At least one form of torture was inflicted on victims in 20% of the incidents such as burning, beating or stabbing the victim to death.
The weapons used varied firearms and knives to blunt objects.
Phone chargers, shoelaces or any wires or cables were used to tie up the victims.
The attackers in 25% of the incidents stole the vehicles and used them to flee the scene because they would be found abandoned later. Cellphones and firearms were the second most stolen objects.
In four incidents, nothing was stolen.
Dr Theo de Jager, the Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) chairperson of the board of directors, said what they wanted as farmers was to bring the numbers (farm murders and attacks) down.
“They are not going to go down by themselves. We need a concerted effort to do so. We need to do more than just beef up security,” said De Jager.
He added that the government needed to recognise the problem by declaring it a priority crime.