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Mapped: Where most farm attacks happen

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Where are the most incidents of farm attacks happening in South Africa, what makes Gauteng a hotspot, and what does data suggest on times of attacks and victims?


It is no secret that South Africa is known as having one of the highest crime statistics, with murders being at the forefront. A crisis South Africa is facing is the growing spate of farm attacks and murders, with attacks being more prevalent.

Farm attacks are one of the country’s biggest concerns as the lives of farmers and those who live in rural areas are under threat by acts of violence and brutality, causing them to live in fear. With the increase in attacks, it is important to know where these attacks are mostly happening.

Where do farm attacks happen?

The occurrence of farm attacks is so problematic that every province has experienced a certain percentage of attacks and murders.

This can be seen through organisations such as AfriForum and AgriSA, that have compiled data on farm attacks and trends in South Africa for the period between 2010 and 2019, as provided by the National Rural Safety Strategy (NRSS) launched by the South African Police Service Division of Visible Policing.

This data and these trends in farm attacks reveal details such as the times attacks are likely to happen, who the victims are, the age groups of victims, and days of the week attacks can occur.

Mapped: Where most farm attacks happen

According to the NRSS report, most farm attacks up to 2019 were being recorded in Gauteng, accounting for 30 percent of attacks.

The North West province followed behind with 15 percent, Limpopo accounted for 11 percent, with the Free State, Western Cape and Mpumalanga all recording nine percent of farm attacks.

The Eastern Cape accounted for eight percent, KwaZulu-Natal at seven percent and the Northern Cape at one percent.

Overall, the Northern Cape seems to be the only province with the lowest number of recorded attacks, with the top three provinces being Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.

According to AgriSA, between the periods of 2012 and 2018, the North West recorded the highest percentage of farm attacks at 24 percent and was followed by Gauteng at 21 percent, with KwaZulu-Natal recording the third highest percentage of 15 percent.

Even then, the Northern Cape still recorded the lowest farm attacks at one percent. Gauteng and North West are clearly the provinces targeted the most.

Why is Gauteng a hotspot for farm attacks?

One could be asking themselves, why Gauteng seems to be a hotspot for farm attacks and consistently recording the highest rate of attacks.

This could be because of the high number of smallholdings and the high concentration of these properties in areas such as Erasmia and Muldersdrift. This is said to give attackers the allowance to invade multiple properties in one night or at a time.

This makes it easy for the number of attacks to be significantly high around certain areas of Gauteng, given that farms and smallholdings make up Gauteng.

What were the times of occurrence of attacks?

Farm attacks were less likely to occur on a Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. These days recorded 13 percent of attacks.

Thursday was noted to be the day where the most attacks were likely at 16 percent, with Tuesday, Friday and Saturday following behind at 15 percent.

The time of the day where farm attacks were likely to occur appeared to be consistent with data from previous years, with most attacks happening between 18:00 and 03:00.

Between 18:00 and 21:00, 22 percent of attacks occurred followed by the time between 00:00 and 03:00, with 20 percent of recorded attacks.

What were the numbers in terms of victims?

The victim categories for farm attacks were divided into three categories, namely: Owners, workers and guests. The percentage of total attacks on owners was at 66 percent, attacks on workers was at 26 percent, while attacks on guests was eight percent.

It was recorded that out of the 57 percent of the incidents that occurred, only one victim was attacked with two victims being attacked in 30 percent of reported incidents.

The more people there seemed to be present at the targeted property, the less likely it was for the planned attack to be carried out by the attackers.

Final thoughts

Farm attacks and killings are a nightmarish reality that farmers and their families and workers need to live with in South Africa. Farmers are prone to crime everywhere, but in the case of South Africa, it is the thought that they could be killed that scares farmers most.

The rates of farm attacks in South Africa are the highest in Gauteng and the North West, and this is attributed to the concentration of farms and smallholdings in these areas. Attacks have been noted to take place at consistent times as in the previously recorded years of data.


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