South African farm attacks
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Attacks on owners of South African farms have become a pressing issue in the country.
In 2010, Andre Botha of the agricultural union Agri SA stated that there have been 11,785 attacks and 1,804 murders since 1991 - a rate of two farm murders a week.
In a study conducted by D. Mistry and J. Dhlamini, 90% of perpetrators interviewed gave robbery as a motive. In 1998, Martin Aylward, a spokesman for the South African Police Service, stated that investigations had not revealed any orchestrated efforts. "Farmers are just easy targets for criminals," he said. "They are in rural areas. They tend to have weapons that criminals want. They have some money. It's really in only a few instances that nothing has been taken." Jack Loggenberg of the Transvaal Agricultural Union has a different view, however, claiming that the victims are "not only killed, but also tortured brutally, and sometimes nothing is stolen... It could be organized, but we don't have the facts."
Race and conspiracy theories
Many farm owners believe that the attacks are racially motivated and intended to drive white farmers out of commercial farmlands. In an attack on a white farmer with a mixed-race wife that occurred in 1998, the attackers reportedly told the woman that they only killed whites, not mixed-race people. A 2002 report from Genocide Watch stated that over 1000 ethno-European farmers have been murdered in South Africa since 1991; the organisation has argued that these murders constitute attempted genocide.
However, according to a 2003 report, black, Indian and mixed-race people comprise 48% of the victims of farm attacks. The victims of farm murders, meanwhile, include a higher percentage of white people. Whites own 73% of all farmland in South Africa, so white people are actually underrepresented in these attacks. Furthermore, whites are less likely to be murdered than any other racial group in the country. Specifically, 1.8% of murder victims in 2009 were white, despite the fact whites make up around 8.9% of the population.
The attacks have given rise to genocide conspiracy theories, holding that they are masterminded by the South African government, or even by an international body that is directing the government. It has recently been peddled by none other than Nick Griffin in an attempt to mock Nelson Mandela on his death bed. These ideas are examples of the white extinction scenario.
- Whites Own 73% of South Africa's Farming Land, City Press Says. Bloomberg.
- Are SA whites really being killed ‘like flies’? Why Steve Hofmeyr is wrong. Africa Check.