Media Statement by the Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lierutenant General Khomotso Phahlane on the meeting with Afriforum on incidents of violence on farms and small holdings.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Senior management of the South African Police Service,
The leadership of AfriForum,
The South African Police Service has identified incidents of crime and violence on farms and small holdings as an emerging priority in the current 2016/2017 financial year as part of our integrated approach towards eradicating crime and criminality in this country.
It is for that reason that we have resolved to properly define these incidents as acts of violence against persons residing on, working on or visiting farms and small holdings; whether with intent to murder, rape, rob or inflict bodily harm. These include farm owners, farm workers and all other citizens of this country, irrespective of race, colour, creed, religion or sex.
In addition to that, all acts of violence against the infrastructure and property in rural communities aimed at disrupting legal farming activities as a commercial concern are also included.
Therefore, the South African Police Service has committed to collaborative efforts various stakeholders such as AfriForum as well as a number of organised agricultural unions around the country.
The following incidents involving violence on farms and small holdings as well as persons in those environments should be reported to the Provincial Commissioners within 24 hours of occurrence;
- Contact Crimes (Direct Acts);
- Attempted Murder
- Assault GBH; and
- Contact-related and Property-related Crimes (Indirect Acts);
- Arson; and
- Malicious Damage to Property
Our analysis has shown that there is a particular modus operandi visible during the commission of these incidents of violence and crime on farms and small holdings. The analysis has shown that there has been a major shift in target selection from small holdings to more isolated farms. Furthermore, another feature is that they mostly occur between Thursday and Saturday at night while most victims are attacked while asleep.
The number of perpetrators at a time ranges from two to eight; split into two groups at most incidents; they have been identified as mostly male and comprising of foreign nationals between the ages of 20 to 35 while the majority of victims are 50 years and above.
It is pleasing to mention that most of the arrests that have been effected are due to good cooperation from the local, farming communities. The commission of these attacks has led to the theft of motor vehicles and firearms as well as disposable items such as cellular phones, electronic equipment and jewellery.
We have since seen a serious decline on the number of reported incident of violence on farms and small holdings from 532 in the 2010/2011 financial year to 446 in the last financial year; which is 2015/2016.
In addition, there has also been a decline in the number of reported murders on farms and small holdings from 80 in the 2010/2011 financial year to 49 in the 2015/2016 financial year.
The South African Police Service has identified KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Limpopo and Gauteng as hot spot provinces with stations where more than two incidents of violence and murder were reported in the 2015/2016 financial year. Among those stations identified are:
- KwaDukuza in KZN,
- Brits, Rustenburg, Potchefstroom and Mooinooi in the North West,
- Hercules, Hekpoort and Muldersdritf in Gauteng,
- Modimolle, Westenburg, Letsitele and Lephalale in Limpopo.
Our efforts have also ensured that convictions from the investigation of incidents of violence on farms and small holdings across the country in the last three years; with some of the suspects sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in the Eastern Cape to a maximum of 80 years behind bars in KwaZulu-Natal.
We have engaged, as the leadership of the South African Police Service, with AfriForum today on matters of common interest aimed at ensuring continuous collaboration and cooperation; specifically to deal with crimes aimed at people living on, working on and visiting farms and small holdings.
Both parties have since agreed to have a round table discussion between SAPS, AfriForum and the various agricultural unions under one roof to collaborate on matters of common interest, in due course, and to chat a way forward based on our Back-to-Basics approach to policing.
In addition, we have agreed that there is a need for increased representation of farming communities in the Community Policing Forum structures countrywide.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we also met with the leadership of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) earlier today to also discuss matters related areas of cooperation in the fight against crime and criminality.
SANTACO had requested an audience with us to enable us to work together to eradicated crime in the taxi industry as well as to request us to have a relook at cases that had been opened in the past and remain unsolved; mostly related to taxi violence and related murders.
We have since agreed that we are going to have a working relationship on these matters of common interest as well as prioritising the sharing of information. Furthermore, we have agreed with SANTACO that there is a dire need to share information that will help both parties address the availability and circulation of illegal firearms in the taxi industry.
We also agreed to create a platform for regular interaction between the SAPS, SANTACO and the Chiefs of Metropolitan Police Departments in the country.
The South African Police Service remains committed to ensuring that we continue to build these collaborative efforts with civil society to achieve a crime free, safe South Africa.