Farm Murders Statistics To Be Released By SAPS While KZN Suspects Taken Into Custody

Farming in South Africa is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. The civil rights group Afriforum reported that there have been over 1,700 murders since apartheid ended in 1994. Estimates state that the number of murders is much higher and that as many as 3,000 or more farmers have been murdered. Although police say that race isn’t a motive in many of the attacks, critics say that race is definitely a factor.

News 24 reported that six suspects have been arrested in the murder of farmer Anton Phillip Verwey in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal. Police said they apprehended the suspects, who were between the ages of 14 and 24. The first suspect was arrested within four hours of the murder.

Verwey was found with two open wounds to his stomach. Magma Security spokesperson Shaheen Suleiman said that the group was allegedly found in possession of Verwey’s belongings, including two bicycles, a plasma TV, a computer, a laptop, and cell phones. Police said they would be pursuing charges of murder and house robbery. KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni praised the police for their quick response in handling the farm murder.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, South Africa has finally raised farm murders to a priority crime. Civil rights group Afriforum has worked to bring attention to the crimes by contacting the United Nations, as well as pushing to have the crimes made a priority. For the fifth straight year, the number of farm murders has risen while the farm attacks have gone down. Acting National Police Commander Lt-Gen. Khomotso Phahlane said that the crimes will be prioritized. Human Rights Watch released their report for 2015 on South Africa, and white genocide and farm murders weren’t mentioned.

IOL News reported that police have been ordered to release farm murders statistics to Afriforum, who requested the records dating back several years. The civil rights group said that the statistics would be used in a public relations campaign to bring awareness to the issue.

AfriForum’s deputy chief executive, Ernst Roets, said that the figures would be invaluable in verifying whether or not the number of farm murders had declined.

“We believe the number of farms murders and attacks has not declined. Even if it has, the problem has not been solved and requires more attention. We believe it is of national importance that the incidence of farm attacks and murders be monitored correctly. This is to evaluate the ability of the SAPS to effectively protect citizens residing on farms.”

Afriforum took the police to court after Roets contacted the police last May with a request to get the records so that they could verify their numbers on farm murders. Roets said that he sent two requests to police requesting access to the records.

Former national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said that police were continuing to collect the statistics even though the South African government said the statistics will no longer be collected. Police said that the numbers were being updated for operational reasons.

Roets said that the farm murders statistics would be invaluable, because police have stated that the number of farm murders has declined over the last five years. Afriforum indicated that there has been an increase in farm murders, and the murders and attacks have increased over the last five years.

[Photo by Don MacKinnon/Getty Images]