While South Africa hasn’t been getting much attention in the mainstream media lately there is a serious crisis going on in the country. Whether or not there is a serious government coverup depends on what set of statistics you use.
Raw numbers, reported by AgriSA, point at a lower murder rate than previous years, signaling a downward trend in the excessively high murder rate for the country.
The agency put out two different sets of data. The reason behind the discrepancy remains unknown. The earlier set of figures contradicted the widespread numbers in the first graph.
One reason to regard these figures with considerable caution is that they are contradicted by earlier figures released by SAPS. According to these, the number of farm murders nationally increased from 58 murders (not 49) in 519 (not 446) incidents in 2015/16 to 74 murders (not 66) in 638 (not 478) incidents in 2016/17. The discrepancy between the two sets of figures has yet to be explained. Another is that many of the provincial figures for 2017/18, which total up to 47 nationally, are implausibly low. These were given by SAPS as follows:
There are also a number of murders that are not even included in the released information at all. Politicsweb continues:
Anyone who has been following the news on farm murders would immediately regard some of these numbers as red flags. To take the three easily most checkable provinces:
1. Joubert Conradie was shot and killed on his farm Klapmuts in October 2017.
2. In January this year Martin Louw was fatally stabbed in his house on Wolwefontein farm, Tulbagh.
That is two farm murders – both of which received huge publicity in the press – where the SAPS records only one.
This brings the proper total to 48.
1. Danie “Kat” Fourie was murdered on his small holding in the Soeding area near Kuruman in November 2017.
2. Piet Els died of his injuries in May after being brutally assaulted during an attack on his farm near Kimberly in January 2018.
3. Athol Harvey eventually succumbed to his injuries after being attacked on his farm, Weltevrede near Spitskopdam outside Barkly West, in February 2018.
That is three farm murders where the SAPS figures record only one.
This brings the proper total to 50.
1. In April 2017 Piet van Es was murdered in his house at Moseley farm on the R40 outside Barberton.
2. Dries Schoeman was attacked and robbed on his farm in Waterval Boven in June 2017. He succumbed to his injuries the following month.
3. In August 2017 Anton Smuts was shot and killed in his bakkie, which was then set alight, on his farm in the Kinross and Leandra area.
4. Hoedspruit farmer Christo Redelinghuys was shot and killed on his farm Jonkmanspruit in November 2017.
5. In December 2017 Gunther Prigge was killed in a shootout with a gang on his farm.
6. In January 2018 Dries Steenkamp was shot and killed by intruders on his farm near Lydenberg.
7. In February 2018 Hans Meyer was shot and killed on his farm Vögelvlei in the Charl Cilliers district.
8. Also in February Hantie van der Vyfer was murdered on the farm Welgelegen between Chrissiesmeer and Ermelo, where she lived alone.
That is eight farm murders reported in the press where the SAPS figures record only three.
This brings the proper total to at least 55.
Given that a brief news search could establish eight cases missed by the SAPS the true under-count must be substantial. The SAPS figures should also be more not less comprehensive than press reporting.
The News24’s headline then is based upon a SAPS figure which was implausible to begin with, and which is provably wrong.
The real number of murders of South African farmers may never be known. If this is due to government corruption remains to be seen.