Friday, 10 May 2013

The Reality of Farm Attacks in South Africa: 1990-2012 New edition of Treurgrond

These areas are the most at risk of farm attacks - Solidarity
Ilze Nieuwoudt
09 May 2013

New edition of Treurgrond finds that 19.8% of farm attacks between 1990 and 2012 occurred in Gauteng
(See tables at the bottom of the page)

These areas most at risk of farm attacks - study

3 300 pairs of shoes symbolise the scope of farm attacks

Living on a farm or a smallholding in Gauteng and, on top of that, being older than 60 years place people in the category of being the most vulnerable targets for farm attacks in South Africa. According to research carried out on attacks listed in Kraal Uirgewers' latest book, Treurgrond: Die realiteit van plaasaanvalle, 1990-2012, Gauteng is the most dangerous province in the country for farm and smallholding residents. More than 19,8% of the 3 319 farm attacks recorded over the 23-year period between 1990 and 2012 occurred in Gauteng. The three other northern provinces - Mpulamanga, North West and Limpopo - are the second, third and fourth most dangerous provinces respectively, as 15,3% of the attacks were recorded in Mpumalanga, 15,2% in North West and 12,7% in Limpopo.

The Free State (11,8%), KwaZulu-Natal (11,5%), the Eastern Cape (7%) and the Western Cape (4,7%) are ranked fifth to eighth. The Northern Cape is firmly in the position as the "safest province", as approximately 1,6% of the attacks were recorded in that province. (These figures are based on the number of attacks listed for each province in Treurgrond and are not in relation to the number of residents or the number of farms and smallholdings in the provinces.)

These and other alarming figures were revealed today during the launch of Treurgrond at the Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, east of Pretoria. At the launch 3 319 pairs of shoes were put on display, symbolising the number of farm attacks listed in the book. The number of murder victims was indicated by means of a red ribbon on 1 610 pairs of shoes. Treurgrond describes the attacks on at least 5 818 direct victims of farm attacks over the period 1990 to 2012.

Further research has shown that an average of three attackers are involved in each farm attack and, in some cases, there are as many as 10 attackers. It is clear that attackers choose to work in groups. Approximately 86% of attacks are carried out by groups of two or more attackers.

Moreover, research has indicated that older people are a lot more vulnerable to farm attacks than people in their 20s to 40s. According to the available information in Treurgrond, 42,6% of victims are 61 years and older. Victims who are 51 years and older represent a total of 62,7% of all victims. What's more, 6,1% of the victims whose ages are recorded in Treurgrond are 15 years old or younger.

The first edition of Treurgrond was published in 2011 and mainly consisted of data that had been gathered by TAU SA over many years. Further research was carried out and more than 700 additional farm attacks were included in the new edition. The book was compiled by Dr Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity, Maj. Gen. Chris van Zyl of TAU SA and Ilze Nieuwoudt of Kraal Uitgewers.

The book is available from Kraal Uitgewers at R350 a copy (excluding R40 postage). To place an order, SMS "Treur" to 34388. For more information go to or phone 012 644 4329.

More on Treurgrond
Treurgrond: Die realiteit van plaasaanvalle, 1990-2012 tells the stories of more than 3 300 farm attacks spanning more than two decades in South Africa. This book, compiled by Dr Dirk Hermann, Maj. Gen. Chris van Zyl and Ilze Nieuwoudt, is not only the most inclusive register of farm attacks, but also tells of the scars left by farm attacks as seen through the eyes of victims, family members, loved ones, poets and an artist. Striking artworks of celebrated Free State artist Pauline Gutter are included in the book.

A glimpse inside Treurgrond: Die realiteit van plaasaanvalle, 1990-2012

Treurgrond contains, among other things, the following:

- The most inclusive and reliable database of farm attacks that occurred from 1990 to 2012 in South Africa; some 3 300 attacks and at least 1 600 murders are listed.

- Updated and more complete information on attacks such as more details and facts on the attacks, the prosecution of attackers and the sentences eventually imposed on attackers.

- Striking personal stories of victims and victims' families and friends about the trauma, sadness and loss suffered as a result of the attacks.

- Research articles by renowned experts in the field of farm attacks who, among other things, examined the potential effect of farm attacks on the community and the use of excessive violence during farm attacks.

- A proposed model for a basic community safety network formulated by a former police detective and crime expert.

- Artworks on the theme of farm attacks and the vulnerability of the farming community by celebrated Bloemfontein artist Pauline Gutter.

- Eight heart-rending poems that articulate the sadness of loss, anger and bitterness over farm attacks. Two of the poems were written by a father who lost his eight-year-old son in a farm attack.

Statement issued by Ilze Nieuwoudt, Publications Manager: Kraal Uitgewers, Solidarity Movement, May 9 2013


Number of attacks per year

Age groups of SA farm attack victims
AGE                                    NUMBER

Percentage break-down of SA farm attack victims per age group
                AGE                    PERCENTAGE

SA farm attacks per province


Further reading
Farm attacks worst in Gauteng - study

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