Farm attackers after money and firearms

Farm attacks in the Free State flared up during THE past month with five attacks in the eastern Free State and two attacks in the Wesselsbron district.

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Kobus Breytenbach, chairperson of Free State Agriculture’s (FSA) Law and Order Committee, said attackers are after money and firearms, often with no intent to murder. Breytenbach said most attacks happened on farms that aren’t part of the province’s safety and security structures.

“For instance, one of the victims runs a shop on the Lesotho border without being part of any security system, despite our continuous warnings that farmers mustn’t keep large amounts of cash in their homes,” he said. “One doesn’t have to be a member of FSA to have access to the organisation’s Rural Safety Plan.”

Breytenbach said there are some districts that still don’t have any security in place. “Take heed – criminals know very well whether a farmer is part of a safety and security system or not,” said Breytenbach, adding that in most cases it’s clear attackers had inside information from farmworkers.

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Hennie Gerber, head of FSA’s Intelligence Service, agrees. Noting farm murders in the province are on a downward trend because of the proactive intelligence service, he pointed out that attacks and robberies don’t happen randomly. “They are well planned, and in 99% of the cases planned on inside information,” he said.