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South African Police Service statistics indicate an increase in farm murders

For the attention of foreign and international media reporting on South Africa

The South African civil rights organisation AfriForum wishes to inform the media that official statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) indicate that attacks on South African farmers are on the increase. This is particularly important because significant press coverage was given by foreign and international media to the false claim that farm murders in South Africa is currently the lowest that it has been in 20 years. In fact, SAPS statistics indicate that the contrary is true. This inaccurate claim created the false impression that the problem of South African farmers being under violent attack is not really a problem worth taking note of.

The source of this inaccurate claim is a report that was published in 2018 by an agricultural organisation, in which it was claimed that farm murders were at a so-called “19-year low”. The authors of this report stated that their findings in this regard were based on data provided to them by the SAPS. The claim was quickly debunked, however, and can easily be refuted by doing a simple Google search.

The authors of the inaccurate report have since conceded that the number is inaccurate and have subsequently updated their report.

The SAPS has subsequently published data on farm attacks and farm murders, which also indicate that farm murders are not on a 19-year low. This information shows the contrary: Although there has been a gradual decrease since the peak of the farm murder crisis in 1997, there has been a gradual increase in farm murders since 2011, as well as a significant increase in farm attacks since 2015 (see graph below). AfriForum has also noted severe levels of violence and brutality displayed by attackers in recent years.

* Source: SAPS

  • For a comprehensive description of the farm attack crisis, journalists are encouraged to obtain a copy of Ernst Roets’s book Kill the Boer. The book is available on Amazon and in bookstores in South Africa. AfriForum is also prepared to provide free copies of Kill the Boer to journalists reporting on South Africa and on farm murders.

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