Zuma ill-informed about farm murders – Pieter Groenewald

FF+ MP says President wrong to dismiss possibility of a racial motive in many attacks

Pieter Groenewald

Zuma uninformed about farm murders

“President Zuma is clearly ill-informed about farm murders if he says that race does not play a role in farm murders. Research had already in 2003 shown that at least 2% of farm murders are racially driven (see extract below). It can however not be said with certainty what the current precise percentage is of farm murders which are racially driven as criminals do not easily acknowledge that the crimes are racially driven (see Beeld report). Usually it is said that these acts are ordinary criminality. The reality is that the cruelty with which the farm murders are perpetrated attests that it is not ordinary criminality,” Mr. Pieter Groenewald, the FF Plus’ chief spokesperson on Police, says.

“The president should firstly tell us how many farm murders have taken place since 2007 for him to be able to prove his statement. If it is taken into consideration that the figure for murders of farmers are approximately 313 per 100 000 of the population and the figure for murder of ordinary people is 32 per 100 000, it is clear that farmers are a specific target. If Zuma wants to resolve farm murders he has to concede to the request of the Freedom Front Plus, which the party has been asking of government since 2007, to make crime statistics on farm murders available and to declare farm murders as a priority crime,” Groenewald added.

Statement issued by Mr. Pieter GroenewaldFF Plus chief spokesperson: Police, July 5 2012

Extract from the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Farm Attacks, July 31 2003:

Motives for farm attacks

The Committee analysed the 3544 cases on the NOCOC database in an attempt to determine the motives for the farm attacks. Obviously, more than one factor may motivate a farm attack or cause an attacker to select a specific farm. The Committee therefore tried to identify the cases where the apparent primary or main motive was either robbery, intimidation, political, racial or labour related. A clear motive was apparent in 2644 cases.

Table 22: Apparent motive for farm attacks 1998 – 2001 (NOCOC)

Year Robbery Intimida-tion Political/ Racial Labour  Related Total
1998 552 47 17 8 624
1999 576 33 10 13 632
2000 602 74 10 15 701
2001 631 34 15 7 687
Total 2361 188 52 43 2644
  89.3% 7.1% 2.0% 1.6%  

In the other cases the motive could not be established from the database alone because nothing was apparently stolen, or there was another motive such as rape. In Table 22 these other cases are ignored for the present purposes.


  • It will be seen that in 2361 (89.3%) of the cases, the motive was clearly robbery. As explained above, this figure is likely to be substantially higher, since the NOCOC database does not accurately reflect the items stolen.
  • There were 188 cases (7.1%) of intimidation, for example where crops or buildings were set alight or where people were shot at without reason.
  • In 52 (2.0%) cases some political or racial motive was apparent. To determine political or racial motives the Committee relied largely upon utterances made on the crime scene, the remarks of the compilers of the statistics or on some other indication. One has to assume that such overt indications of a political or racial motive will not always be present and that the figure may be higher than the 2.0% indicated.
  • Forty three cases (1.6%) were labour related, such as disputes over wages.


The cases where apparently nothing was stolen, are discussed in the section below.

One must assume, however, that there may be more than one motive for a particular farm attack. Some perpetrators, for example, who received amnesty for their attacks from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had also robbed a large amount of goods. On the other hand, however, one must also assume that there may be some attackers who attempt to justify the attack afterwards by trying to give it a political colour. Furthermore, some farm attackers try to throw the police off the scent by leaving political or racial clues


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