“In the current circumstances, it becomes difficult to calm the minds of farmers and farm workers at the ground level when they insist on their right to safety,” says Tommie Esterhuyse, head of Agri SA’s rural safety center.
Esterhuyse says the farming community must continue to act responsibly and insist that the police fulfill its constitutional duty and protect all citizens.
He says that if agriculture does not go well, the land will not go well. The government must consider the value of agriculture in policy development and for its policing models in order to combat rural crime purposefully.
South Africa is in one of the most difficult economic situations and with it, agriculture is experiencing an agriculture-unfriendly government and policy uncertainty.
Uncertainty and increasing rural crime do not contribute to creating an environment in which agriculture can perform and contribute to economic development, he says.
Although Agri SA said on Tuesday there were 29 farm attacks in June, the TAU SA says it has already verified 40 attacks, including six murders.
Among those victims are a brother and a sister, the children of farm workers, who were shot on June 18 on a farm outside Polokwane. The boy was shot in his thigh and his sister in her elbow.
A boy was seriously injured on a holding north of Pretoria when he was shot in the neck in an attack. The attack was one of seven in the same area within 24 hours.
Many victims were seriously injured and even tortured.
On June 5, Pieter (65) and Ann Nel (61) of Remhoogte, Brits, were attacked. Nel was shot in the chest and admitted to the intensive care unit.
Schalk (64) and Lana (63) Coetzee were burnt and violently assaulted in a farm attack outside Reivillo on June 6.
On June 1st, Dr. Roelof Botha was killed at Tulbagh in the Western Cape and on June 4, Solomon Mbokane, a farmer from Badplaas in Mpumalanga, was killed.
On June 6, Eduard Neumeister, 67, was attacked and killed with a machete at Balgowan in KwaZulu-Natal. Neumeister operated a restaurant and guesthouse on his farm.
Ten days later on June 16, Kosie Botha, 63, a farmer from Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, was found dead in his home. His hands and feet were tied and he was presumably strangled.
Edwin Kotzé, 56, was killed in a robbery on June 21 at Buffelsdrift, north of Pretoria, and on June 23, Albert Küssel, 63, was killed at Sundra on a holding.