Farmers not uniquely targeted by criminals

Farmers are not more vulnerable to attacks on their farms than people living in the city, according to research by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).

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As the police do not publish specific data on farm attacks, the SAIRR relied on data collected by TAU SA for the study. The study found that the number of farm attacks per 100 000 farmers and their families is comparable to the number of criminal attacks per 100 000 people in the general population.

Frans Cronje, CEO of the SAIRR, said the analysis did not indicate that farm attacks were not a problem. “Rather this reveals just how vulnerable all South Africans are to violent crime.” But Louis Meintjes, president of TAU SA, said the statistics were incorrectly interpreted and that actual farm attack figures were three times higher than the study showed. “This year there have been over 100 attacks already, but when we cry foul over the spate of attacks, no one listens.”

According to the data, the number of attacks fluctuated between 1994 and 2011. The highest number of farm attacks occurred in 2002, with 229 attacks across the country. The lowest number occurred in 1996, with 70 attacks. Meintjes claimed  that the political climate had an impact on the number of farm attacks, but that there was no concrete evidence to back this up. “The question remains why are farmers and their families tortured and killed when the motive for the attack is put forward as theft. 

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