The South African Police Service (SAPS) is to set up multidisciplinary teams to prioritise the investigation of farm related crimes.
Police will work with various stakeholders such as AfriForum and other organised agricultural unions around the country. There will also be a push for increased representation of farming communities in Community Policing Forum structures countrywide.
Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, announced this on Wednesday, after meeting with AfriForum.
He said police have also identified hotspots around the country that will be targeted, including Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.
“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. This includes farm owners, farm workers and all other citizens of this country, irrespective of race, colour, creed, religion or sex,” said Phahlane.
He said focus will also be placed on all acts of violence against the infrastructure and property in rural communities aimed at disrupting legal farming activities.
The SAPS has detected that there is a particular modus operandi during the commission of these incidents of violence and crime on farms and small holdings. There is a major shift in target selection from small holdings to more isolated farms and the attacks occur mostly between Thursday and Saturday night while the crime victims sleep.
“The number of perpetrators at a time ranges from two to eight, split into two groups in most incidents. They have been identified as mostly male, comprising foreign nationals between the ages of 20 to 35, while the majority of victims are 50 years and above,” Phahlane said.
Police stats show that the reported incidence of violence on farms and small holdings in the 2010/11 financial year stood at 532, which declined to 446 in 2015/16.
Reported murders on farms and small holdings stood at 80 in the 2010/11 financial year but the number dropped to 49 in the 2015/16 financial year.