KZN farmers must step up security

A spate of farm attacks in KwaZulu-Natal has highlighted the need for the farming community to urgently step up its home security measures.

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The KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) said it was “most concerned” about these attacks and their consequences. “However, we do believe that these attacks are robbery-related, where cash, firearms and other valuables are targeted by the perpetrators,” said Koos Marais of Kwanalu’s Security Desk.

“The fact that there have been arrests made in many of these cases is significant, indicating that there is often inside information leading to the attacks.”

KZN’s most recent farm attack victims were husband-and-wife Dave (65) and Cheryl (58) Biggs of King’s Grant Farm at Ixopo. According to the KZN SAPS and from the province’s Department of Community Safety and Liaison, the couple was attacked by four men, with Cheryl bearing the brunt of the assault.

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“The complainant was in the house with his wife when four unknown men armed with firearms entered the house by forcing the door open,” said police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane. The suspects reportedly stole car keys, four firearms and other household items.

“I’m disturbed at this trend of attacks on mostly senior farm owners,” said Willies Mchunu, KZN’s MEC for Community Safety and Liaison. “These have an effect of painting a negative picture for the province as an investment destination. It could also threaten the food security as farmers are responsible for providing food security to the province.”

Marais stressed that most farm attacks occurred in and immediately around homesteads, so it was essential that far more security measures were implemented in these areas. Mchunu urged all of KZN’s citizens, particularly those in the farming community, to work with the SAPS to put a stop to farm attacks.

Zwane indicated that no arrests in the Biggs farm attack had yet been made, and that investigations were ongoing.