SA experiences 184 farm attacks in five months: AfriForum

The number of farms that have been attacked in 2019 has spiked.
The number of farms that have been attacked in 2019 has spiked.

The number of farm attacks reported in the Western Cape more than doubled in the first five months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, says AfriForum.

The organisation announced farm attack statistics for 2019 at a media conference on Monday. A total of 184 farm attacks, including 20 murders, were recorded between January 1 and May 31.

AfriForum said most of the attacks were recorded in Gauteng (51), followed by North West  (28) and Limpopo (27).

AfriForum said the Western Cape had recorded 16 attacks and three murders thus far in 2019.

“Attacks in the Western Cape increased extremely, in such a manner that more than double the number of attacks were reported from 1 January to 31 May 2019 compared to this period in 2018,” said Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s head of community safety.

In one of the latest incidents, which police described as a house robbery, 62-year-old wine farmer Stefan Smit, whose property was at the centre of a land-grab conflict, was shot and killed in front of his wife by four armed suspects on Sunday evening.

Police said Smit, his wife and a family friend were having dinner when four balaclava-clad men allegedly "entered through an unlocked door and shot and killed him".

Cameron said one had to ask whether the murder of the farmer had something to do with land occupation. "The fact that one of his friends confirmed that he received death threats tells us that this was a risk for him," he said.

"What is more concerning is that Smit was ill-advised by the institutions that were supposed to help him with the land occupation, which possibly could have led to a worsened situation."

Cameron said according to AfriForum’s data, farm attackers did not always steal money, but victims were usually badly hurt during attacks.

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