Pretoria – Minority rights group AfriForum on Tuesday said it had noted a decrease in farm murders as farmers in South Africa improved measures to defend themselves.
“We are having an interesting dynamic because there is a very clear tendency that farmers and the farming community are fighting back. It’s very clear that [through] campaigns that have been run by different organisations, of which AfriForum is a leading one, and the huge effort that has been put in for farmers and workers to safeguard themselves … farmers are fighting back,” Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s head of community safety, said at a media briefing in Pretoria.
“There were a total of 342 farm attacks according to AfriForum in 2017, and in 2018 that increased to 433. Now the interesting thing is that there were 20 less murders which occurred in 2018 compared to 2017. This shows that the attacks or the confrontation, the conflict still takes place but that farmers aren’t just waiting to get murdered in this stance but are rather prepared for that contact to actually happen.”
Among other measures, Cameron said farmers in South Africa “are not allowing themselves just to be victims [by] taking part in training initiatives across the country for themselves and farmworkers putting in a joint effort to get the relevant training to defend themselves”.
He said in February 2018, at least 45 attacks were recorded, making it the worst month in that year.
AfriForum’s community safety division concluded that approximately 432 farm attacks and 54 farm murders took place in 2018.
Deputy chief executive Ernst Roets said in 2019 AfriForum would continue with its international campaign to sensitise the world about the plight of farmers in South Africa. A follow-up trip is being organised to the United States (US).
“We are organising an international liaison to the US. We are organising it currently as we speak. It will probably happen in April, the first two weeks of April. The trip will be to Washington DC. We will follow up on meetings we had last year when we visited there. There is a lot of interest we can see coming from people in the US, about this crisis especially after the tweet made by President Donald Trump,” Roets said.
Roets added that other follow-up tours are planned to nations including Australia “to raise awareness about this situation, to gather support for our campaign and also to get influences, governments and authorities abroad to speak out about this problem”.
AfriForum is also planning to make a presentation in Parliament on “the impact of farm murders and steps that can be taken by government to tackle the issue”.
African News Agency/ANA