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29 November 2012 at 14:50 - Posted by Midrand

SA farms most dangerous in world - SANEWS


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The incidence of farm attacks in South Africa is estimated to be 700% higher than in any other country.

And the likelihood of a farmer being murdered on his farm is between four and six times greater than the average murder-risk rate for the general population, says Christiaan Bezuidenhout, professor of criminology at the University of Pretoria.

Bezuidenhout spoke yesterday at a Pretoria conference at which the Solidarity union's research institute presented a report on farm attacks.

He said official data on farm murders and attacks were out of date, covered different time periods and failed to give detailed breakdowns of who within farming communities was under attack.

Farm attack numbers were included in general murder statistics on the police's website.

Agri SA recorded 1541 murders on farms from 1994 to 2008 and 10151 farm attacks during the same period.

Figures from the Transvaal Agricultural Union showed 1266 farm murders from 1991 to 2009.

Johan Burger, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said it was obvious that the government did not regard attacks on the farming community as a priority.

"The strategic and operational response to the threat of farm attacks and murders is clearly not based on the acknowledgement that the farming community is disproportionately targeted when compared with the victimisation risk of other citizens or groups in South Africa," he said.

The economic and other implications, such as loss of production and food security, were equally underestimated, he said.

Farmers were twice as likely to be murdered as police officers, Burger said.

Bezuidenhout compared the murder rate in South Africa with that in the UK and US.

He said from April 2009 to March 2010 the murder rate in South Africa was about 34 murders for every 100000 population.

In the crime statistics for England and Wales, taken from a UK government website, there were 663 murders recorded in 2008-2009, 618 in 2009-2010 and 642 in 2010-2011 - a rate of about one per 100000 of the population.

The US dealt with 16465 murder cases in 2008, 15399 in 2009 and 14748 in 2010, or about five per 100000 people. - BDlive

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