The agricultural sector has been hit by 26 farm murders since the start of the year, TLU SA said on Tuesday.
In one of the latest attacks, a pregnant woman was killed during a home invasion of her farm in Weenen in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend. Also at the weekend, Afrikaans singer Wynand Breedt was shot dead on his farm outside Worcester near Cape Town.
“There was a decrease in violent crimes since the inception of the lockdown,” the commercial farmers’ union said. “Between January and March this year, TLU SA recorded 71 farm attacks and 14 murders. Since then violent crimes started increasing to levels on par with those before the lockdown, and between April and June there were 68 attacks and 12 murders.”
For the same period last year, the agricultural community recorded 30 farm murders. A total of 419 farm attacks and 56 murders were recorded for the full year.
Farmers had adopted heightened safety precautions and levels of alertness this year, the union signalled.
“From the accounts of farmers who maintained proper levels of preparedness, attackers were not able to surprise them or catch them off-guard. An awareness of strange or unnatural signs and immediate access to weapons prevented the loss of innocent lives and serious injuries [in some attacks],” general manager at TLU SA, Chris van Zyl, said.
He remained concerned about the high level of violence during farm attacks.
“The high levels of violence against victims is not in comparison to the obvious motives like robbery and theft of money, weapons and tradable goods like computers and cellphones.
“The analysis of murder victims shows without a doubt that white farmers, families and farm workers make up two-thirds of murder victims. The particularly high levels of violence and torture indicate a high level of racial hatred, which deeply concerns us,” Van Zyl said.
By Iavan Pijoos – TimesLive