DURBAN – THE South African Farmers Development Association said it was deeply concerned by recent farm attacks.
This comes after a fourth farm attack in KwaZulu-Natal was reported in the past two weeks. In the latest incident, a 63-year-old farmer was stabbed on Trinity Farm, Boston, in the Midlands on November 17.
Last week, Police Minister Bheki Cele released crime statistics for the second quarter of 2021, revealing that 15 murders occurred on farms and small-holdings between July and September this year in the country .
South African Farmers Development Association’s executive chairperson Dr Siyabonga Madlala said it was deeply concerned by the recent attacks in the province.
“The organisation considers this a serious issue and is concerned, especially since the perpetrators are never held accountable for their actions. This issue has been a concern for a long time and we have repeatedly insisted to the minister of police that they must pay attention to such criminal acts as they have been on the rise.”
Madlala added that he felt that continued farm attacks could lead to food security issues.
“As more farmers are attacked, we are at risk of seeing many of them abandon this sector for more secure business opportunities. This will lead to a shortage of food supply and further increases in food prices as this may mean that food will be imported.
“Furthermore, we will run the risk of job losses. The sugar industry alone has over 65 000 direct and 270 000 indirect jobs, at least a million people are dependent on the cane growing and milling activities of the sugar industry.
“All of this could be a dream if these attacks keep increasing further.
“We need perpetrators to be jailed, cases must be resolved and not delayed.”
Speaking about last week’s incident, police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the suspect gained entry through a toilet window.
“He demanded the victim open the safe. He stabbed the farmer’s hands, but the victim managed to escape and call for help. The suspect fled the scene on foot and nothing was taken.”
DA MP Martin Meyer said he strongly condemned the recent attack and the situation needed to be addressed urgently. “The DA reiterates its call to KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, Agriculture MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi and the provincial police commissioner to take urgent proactive steps to halt rural crime.”
Mack Makhathini, media liaison officer at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said law enforcement should double its efforts to prevent farm attacks.
“We call on authorities to scale up their visibility and implement rural safety plans to protect our farmers. The National Rural Safety Strategy needs to be constantly refined and reactive to these incidents.”
Makhathini said the department and farming associations had a good working relationship with security clusters who prioritised farm attacks in KZN.
Article written by: Yogashen Pillay
Photo credit: 20oceansvibe