JOHANNESBURG-- Farm murders and attacks in the country have gone up steeply with the number of murders increasing to 74 in the last fiscal year, up from 58 previously, while the number of farm attacks rose to 638, up from 519.

These figures were released Monday as the country marked Black Monday, a campaign to highlight violent crime against farmers.

There were just over 19,000 murders in the country between April last year and March this year, and 74 of those were killed were farmers, or less than one per cent of total murders in the country, according to the crime statistics released last week, but there is a heated debate about the number of farm murders actually covered by the statistics.

Member of Parliament Dianne Kohler-Barnard of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said: The farmers are under unprecedented attacks. Barely a day goes by without reports of yet another attack. This morning, we heard of another murder, this time at Klapmuts (in Western Cape Province)."

Police said they are working with farmer organizations to strengthen security. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, however, said some of crimes were carried out by undocumented foreigners who were exploited by farmers. We are mapping out a fantastic strategy with them. We are working on working groups in terms of how we beef up their security where they come from and they are also spending their resources.

According to Freedom Front Plus, another opposition political party, farm murders have been increasing over the past three years. The party claims that there have been no less than 1,700 farm murders over the past 21 years.

Meanwhile, a farming community of Buhrmansdrift, a few kilometres outside Mahikeng, the capital of North West Province, have formed a farm patrol watch following the high number of crime cases and farm attacks in the area.

The farming community in various areas of North West Province, including Groot Marico and Lichtenburg, converged in support to the BlackMonday protests across the country.

According to the statistics, there have been 56 farm attacks and 11 farm murders in the province since the beginning of this year. The murder of one farmer affects many people as one farmer feeds approximately 1,600 mouths every day.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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