Robbery a key motive of farm attacks in South Africa

Dr Chris de Kock said that from analysis and research done over many years by agencies such as the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and a commission established by the late President Mandela in the 90’s, it was found that the key motive for farm attacks was robbery. This remains largely the situation today but what continues to be unacceptable is the excessive use of violence in so many farm attacks.

The other contributing factors to farm attacks include homesteads being far apart, criminals wanting to access firearms and cash, cost of securing farmsteads that is often unaffordable, the difficulty of effectively securing the periphery of farmsteads, vulnerable older farm owners that want to keep the old way of life, farm workers being involved because of poor treatment by farmers and familicide.

From the data and research that has been done, there is no indication of this being genocide.   The United Nations Genocide Convention, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such" including the killing of its members, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately imposing living conditions that seek to "bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part", preventing births, or forcibly transferring children out of the group to another group.

Knowing this, it is critically important that the South African government in collaboration with the agricultural sector and other key stakeholders, identify strategies to address this heinous crime that ultimately may have disastrous impacts on the food security and economy of this country.

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