AfriForum disputes SAPS farm murder numbers

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has strongly criticised the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) recent statistics on farm murders, saying they were incorrect.

AfriForum disputes SAPS farm murder numbers
According to AfriForum, the South African Police Service was underreporting on farm murder statistics.
Photo: FW Archive
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According to the crime statistics released by the SAPS, a total of 6 228 murders were reported, a marginal decline compared to the same period last year.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, 18 August, Police Minister Bheki Cele said while the crime rate in the country was still unacceptably high, violent crime levels were starting to show a decrease.

“We have analysed these recent figures and this ministry remains persuaded that the decision to aggressively and strategically confront crime was the right one.”

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Cele said for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder rate had declined in a single quarter. Of the 6 228 murders, according to the statistics, 14 were farm murders reported between April and June. The number included farmers, farmworkers and farm dwellers.

According to SAPS Major-General Norman Sekhukhune, the figure stood at 10 during the same period last year.

Speaking about the current statistics, he said: “Four were employees, five that were attacked were farmers, four people that were murdered were farm dwellers and one was a visitor.”

The figures were only reported cases and did not represent crimes that went unreported.

However, AfriForum spokesperson for community safety Jacques Broodryk said AfriForum’s latest statistics, released last week, indicated that 24 people were murdered on farms during the same period.

“Whether this is incompetence or maliciousness by the South African Police Service, I cannot tell but it is extremely worrying that the SAPS cannot keep track of crime statistics. Every one of the murders that AfriForum has kept record of has been verified,” said Broodryk.

According to Broodryk, there seemed to be a “deliberate effort by the South African government to downplay the seriousness of farm attacks”.

“Firstly, we have a president who denied in front of international media that farm murders are taking place and now it seems we have a police service who are trying to downplay the issue by reporting factually incorrect data,” he said.

Meanwhile, stock theft showed a decline, with 6 281 reported cases in this quarter compared with the 6 456 cases reported during the same period last year. This was a decline of 2,7%.