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Public must make a stand against farm attacks

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Source: Agri SA media release, 13 November 2020, photo credit: Van Schoor

Agri SA appeals to the broader public to make their voices heard against farm attacks and crime in general. Farm attacks are again on the increase, especially in the Free State. This is unacceptable.

“The announcement yesterday by the Minister of Police that various task teams have been appointed to investigate the increase in farm attacks in the Free State is welcomed. It is hoped that the cause of these brutal attacks will be determined, and the necessary action taken by the police,” said Christo van der Rheede, executive director Agri SA.

Agriculture kept the country going during the lockdown. Farmers and farm workers went out of their way to continue feeding the country, our neighboring countries and through exports to other parts of the world. Farmers also donated fresh vegetables, fruit and meat packs to hunger-stricken communities and continue to do so in collaboration with non-governmental organisations on the Cape Flats, in townships and in many poverty-stricken communities throughout the country.

The spike in farm attacks during the past few weeks can therefore no longer be tolerated. It must end.

These attacks are aimed at all farmers regardless of race. Black and white farmers and farm workers are targeted and are often brutally maimed and killed. Despite the challenge of farm attacks, lack of government support and the ever-looming liquidity challenges that farmers in South Africa face, it is agriculture that has contributed significantly to economic growth.

The price of basic food in South Africa remains stable thanks to our farmers. Our country also benefits from agricultural exports. In 2019 it amounted to 10 percent of exports at a value of R156,3 billion. Many jobs are created in the process. According to the latest labour force survey by Stats SA, agriculture employs 808 000 people.

A few million family members depend on the income generated by the agricultural sector. In many areas throughout the country, white and black farmers are working hand in hand to transform the sector and to bring about successful land reform.

Farmers and farm workers are an asset. Our country needs its farmers now more than ever. They must be protected. Agri SA, therefore, calls on the broader public to put pressure on government to stop paying lip service to bring an end to farm attacks and crime in general. Please make a stand.
 
Become involved in community policing platforms and farm watches. Inform all stakeholders involved in these crime prevention platforms about any suspicious activity. Black and white communities must join hands and work together to expose criminal activities and apprehend criminals in their midst.

Police involvement in criminal activities must also be brought to the attention of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) whose job it is to investigate criminal offenses committed by members of the SAPS.

And let us support the victims and family members of all farmers, farm workers and all other vulnerable people who fall victim to these brutal attacks. Farm murders and crime, in general, is reaching epidemic proportions in South Africa. It is only through public pressure and collaborative and preventative action by the broader public that we will be able to stem the rising tide of crime. Please make a stand against farm murders and crime in general, especially during the upcoming festive season.

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