AfriForum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets with Gawie Stols, whose brother Kyle was murdered on Sunday at a farm in Jagersfontein, in Free State province. PHOTO: ANA

Pretoria - Civil rights group AfriForum on Wednesday criticised Police Minister Fikile Mbalula for failing to release specific figures and statistics of farm attacks and murders when he tabled the 2016/17 crime statistics in Parliament.

“Yesterday [Tuesday] the crime statistics were released by the minister of police and we heard the horrible numbers that South Africa’s murder ratio has increased yet again. In the last year, there was 19, 016 murders in South Africa which means there was about two murders every hour – for an entire year. That really indicates that South Africa is in fact a very violent country, and suffering from extreme levels of crime, which is very concerning to us,” said AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets in Pretoria.

Read: #CrimeStats: Criminals have too many rights, says Mbalula

“What is even more concerning relating to this particular topic is the fact that once again no statistics regarding farm attacks were released yesterday. There was a question to that effect posed to the minister to which he responded by declining or refraining from providing any numbers. His answer almost created an impression that he was trying to depict farmers as being racists. He said we must remember there was a case in which a farmer shot someone thinking it was a baboon and so forth.” 

Roets took issue with Mbalula’s response. He said the last farm attacks and murders statistics were made public in 2007.

AfriForum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets with Gawie Stols, whose brother Kyle was murdered on Sunday at a farm in Jagersfontein, in Free State province. VIDEO: ANA

“Of course horrible incidents happen but we believe it was very inappropriate for the minister of police to respond like that when people ask why there are no statistics on farm killings,” he said.

AfriForum said there is clearly an increase in farm attacks and murders on South African farms.

“We know that our data in terms of farm attacks is insufficient because we know that a farm attack where no one is killed is not newsworthy anymore. It happens literally almost every day in South Africa, but we do find that farm murders [attacks] where people are killed are still reported unfortunately in some media publications more than others,” said Roets.

On Wednesday, AfriForum launched a “civil motion of no confidence in Fikile Mbalula”, appealing for South Africans to join the campaign.

On Tuesday, 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.”