Picture: Mary-Jane Mphahele

Cape Town - Civil rights group AfriForum told the Western Cape Department of Community Safety that murders of farmers in the country are not mere acts of violence but outright acts of terror.

AfriForum was speaking during a joint press briefing where it revealed its ten-point-plan on combating the murders and implementing safety measures at farms across the country.

According to AfriForum, 341 farm attacks were recorded since the beginning of this month, with 70 farmers murdered. Conversely in 2016, 339 farmers were attacked with only 64 murdered. 

But police said they have registered five charges of attempted murder with four arrest, and one registered charge of murder with three arrests for the previous financial year.

AfriForum Manager for Community Safety, Thomas van Dalen said anyone who still described these as just crime is committing himself to unnecessary blood shed.

“One of the farmers that were involved in a farm attack died as well, which brings the number up to 71 thus we have already surpassed the 2016 number,” said Van Dalen.

Picture: Mary-Jane Mphahele

He said the murders of farmers would impact negatively on food security.

“We live on a continent where famine is a way of life, food security should be a matter of national priority and not just lip service. Every farmer that is murdered on their farm creates a chain reaction, the first thing in the link when a chain breaks suddenly a thousand of farmers are out of food due to a farmer that was taken out of the food supply chain,” he said.

Van Dalen said farmers are a target of acts of terror in the country.

Video: Mary-Jane Mphahele

“They have no other option but to adapt their farms, homestead and way of life to this threat,” he said.

Western Cape Community Safety Minister, Dan Plato also took the opportunity to condemn the farm killings and attacks in the Western Cape. 

Plato said violent crimes are highest in areas where the police are most under-resourced.

“We remain steadfast in our calls to increase police resources in the province to ensure that all stations are sufficiently staffed, equipped and in service of their community,” said Plato.

Plato said the department will as a measure to eradicate crime, call for the national government to reintroduce and capacitate the specialised units. 

He also urged president Jacob Zuma to not delay the deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to deal with crime in various areas within the province.

“I want to urge the president looking at all the deaths we are witnessing on a day to day basis, he must not delay that decision. The deployment of the army will bring change to the dire situation of the Cape flats,” said Plato

Political Bureau