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How Many SA Farmers Are Killed Everyday?

Updated: Jul 15

A brief look at some of the latest farm murder statistics for the year 2020/21

As part of our work in combating misinformation and debunking the myth of white genocide in South Africa, we are committed to helping people better understand the situation on the ground here. There are many wrong ideas and incorrect facts circulating on right-wing social media pages. What we find concerning is there are times when people go to such pages looking for information about the plight of South Africa’s farming community.

This screenshot was taken from one such "Stop Farm Murders" Facebook groups. Many people join such groups because they genuinely concerned and want to do something about SA's farm murders. In this case, the person in the screenshot above posted the question “How many farmers are killed per month”. The first response from a man named Leonard was simple and brief; “Too many”. Granted, Leonard here was just a layperson concerned about the "Farmer Genocide" so he could be forgiven for not having any of the stats about daily farm murders on hand, right?

Wrong!

We the Geoffs are also a group of laypeople concerned about crime in South Africa but somehow, we always have the most recent statistics on farm murders. We have written in-depth articles*, busted many myths on rural crime and even generated our own infographics** on Farm Murders in South Africa. And all this came from the wealth of information available on the internet - which is accessible to everyone right now!

So let us see if we can shed some light on this issue and help the folks at “Genocide of White Farmers in South Africa” to stop the 'genocide' (if there is one).

How many farmers are killed per month?

Farm murder statistics in South Africa are collected by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. It is very difficult to get the precise number of farmers and even the rate of farm murders as no record of the actual number of people residing on farms exists [1]. Thus, farm murder statistics collected do not just include farmers, they also include farm workers and people visiting or living on farms. They are often released annually so to get an estimate of monthly farm murders, we will be taking an average of the yearly figures.


The SAPS releases official statistics on crimes every financial year. Their contact crime statistics on Agricultural land include every person who was murdered on a commercial farm, plot or a smallholding, not just farmers [2]. In 2019/20, the SAPS reported that there were 166 murders on South Africa's agricultural land averaging about 14 people a month [3].


Other organizations have also been keeping records of farm murders. These include the farmers union AgricSA, Afriforum and the Afriforum-affiliated Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU).


In the 2020/21 financial year, Afriforum recorded 59 farm murders [4]. This was higher than the 41 farm murders they recorded in 2019/20 but lower than the official SAPS figure [3]. This may have been because SAPS definition of Agricultural land as an area was broader than Afriforum's. It's worth noting that not every farm murder recorded by Afriforum was of a farmer as they use the same definition of Farm Murders as the SAPS. According to Afriforum's latest Farm Murders report, there was an average of 5 farm murders in 2020/21, the latest figure was 2 farm murders recorded in March 2021 [4].

So according to the latest stats, the police reported that about 14 people were killed on farms per month, and Afriforum reported 5 per month. Also, many of these farm murder victims were not white.

From our experiences, we know that people like Leonard (from the screenshot) will look at these rather low numbers and say, "but even one murder is one too many". If people like Leonard were really concerned about the loss of life, then an average of 1777 [3] mostly black and coloured South Africans murdered in the same time as 5 or 14 farm murders wouldn't just be "too many". It would have been astronomical and catastrophic!


We can thus conclude that there is no farmer "genocide" underway in South Africa. We have a massive crime problem in which the farmers are also affected but by no means "genocided".


Don't be like Lazy Leonard. If you are really concerned about something don’t just say “too many” whenever someone asks a question. Instead get up, wise-up and do your research!


*https://www.bustingthemyth.com/post/the-most-comprehensive-article-about-farm-murders-ever-written


** https://www.facebook.com/100455305132380/posts/157733059404604/?app=fbl


Sources:


1.https://africacheck.org//2017/05/08/analysis-calculating-farm-murder-rate-sa-near-impossible/


2. https://africacheck.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Rural-Safety-Strat.pdf


3. https://www.saps.gov.za/services/april_to_march_2019_20_presentation.pdf


4. https://afriforum.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Farm-murders-in-South-Africa-2020-2021-ENG.pdf

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