Afrikaner civil rights group, AfriForum has disputed the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) statistics on farm murders for the second quarter of 2023, alleging that the police failed to reveal the true figure of farm murders.
According to Afriforum the statistics released by the SAPS on Friday only indicated 14 farm murders while their own statistics released earlier this week recorded 24 murders.
“Whether this is incompetence or maliciousness by the South African Police Service, I cannot tell but it is extremely worrying that the SAPS cannot keep track of crime statistics. Every one of the murders that AfriForum has kept record of has been verified,” said Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s spokesperson for Community Safety..
According to AfriForum, there seems to be a deliberate effort by the South African government to downplay the seriousness of farm attacks.
“Firstly, we have a president who denied in front of international media that farm murders are taking place and now it seems we have a police service who are trying to downplay the issue by reporting factually incorrect data,” concluded Broodryk.
Dr Chris De Kock, the former head of the police crime information analysis centre and now an independent consultant, said that definition of murder is universal but the term “farm murder” and the time period used by AfriForum to register their stats were important to make an informed opinion.
He said that the discrepancy between the police stats and the AfriForum stats could be that AfriForum could have continued calculating their stats after the police reporting crime stats reporting period had closed.
In addition, he said that from experience what some may term a farm murder may not actually be a farm murder but another category of murder.
“We had quite a few incidents when I was in the police, for example, where the husband was killed by the wife or the other way around. It may have happened on the farm but it's not a farm murder. Also we had cases where a farmer was killed in town, but that is not a farm murder,” he added.
According to the crime stats released today, there was a decline in the murder rate.
A total of 6,228 murders were reported, marking a decrease of 196 compared to the same period last year. Notably, 1,188 of these victims were women and children. Fourteen of these were farm murders.
The provinces of Limpopo and North West recorded significant declines in murders, with drops of 10.0% and 11.5% respectively. However, the Northern Cape saw an 11.1% increase.