Police Minister Fikile Mbalula delivers the 2016/17 crime statistics report in Parliament. Picture: Screengrab
Cape Town - The absence of figures on farm murders and attacks caused a stir in Parliament as the police portfolio committee was presented with South Africa’s annual national crime statistics.

The FFP’s Petrus Groenewald demanded police provide him with statistics on farm murders.

Groenewald said the police had made a commitment last year to provide the statistics on farm attacks.

“I’m sure the commissioner should have the figures. We took such a decision last year,” Groenewald said.

“If we have the figures, why can’t we get it now. What is the reason we can’t get them now?”

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Acting national commissioner Lesetja Mothiba said there were more than 1000 police stations and that it could take over a day to make a presentation on all types of prevalent murders.

Mothiba promised to prepare a report on farms.

“We had to prepare this presentation based on time given to us,” he said.

Committee chairman Francois Beukman tried to come to Mothiba’s rescue, saying he should take steps to make the report available.

“The national commissioner has explained he does not have the information,” Beukman said.

But, Groenwald would hear none of that.

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“It does not make sense to give it after the meeting,” he said, adding he was not looking for statistics of every police station.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said he was unaware there had been an arrangement for such statistics to be availed.

“We must never give an impression that there are certain things we are running away from,” Mbalula said.

“If something has been agreed to, we must honour it.”

He said he understood Groenewald’s standpoint and that he regularly raised the issue of farm killings and attacks.

“I have met with your party. It is a matter I would want to be addressed amicably.”

Mbalula earlier told the committee his department was interacting with farmers to develop a rural safety strategy.

“We have working groups on how to beef up security,” he said.

However, Mbalula said the farmers should ensure they were compliant with the country’s laws and also desist from hiring undocumented foreigners.

“When they turn against you, you blame the police.”

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Briefing the media afterwards, Mbalula said he did not want to defend useless things.

“Just give the man what he wants and deal with politics he wants to engage in. I don’t want to engage in useless fights.”

The Transvaal Agricultural Union SA (TAU SA) said the crime statistics compared badly with the situation over the same period last year.

Henry Geldenhuys, TAU SA deputy president, said 295 attacks and 52 murders were recorded in 2016 while the same period this year reflected an increase of 347 and 65, respectively.

“The situation on South African farms and small holdings is critical and it is clear that the SAPS’ rural safety strategy is not producing favourable results,” Geldenhuys said.

Political Bureau