Farm attacks and murders are slowly but surely starting to become a norm in South Africa – with rural crimes spiking recently, in both Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) respectively. Several human rights groups, organisations, portfolio committees and government have condemned all these brutal acts on both farm dwellers and owners.

CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT TO INTERVENE IN FARM ATTACKS

In the latest incident, two siblings, Amos and Zenzele Coka were allegedly shot and killed by farm owners on Friday, 9 April 2021. The two were part of a group of farm dwellers who went to seek employment as they were seasonal farmworkers.

The Coka brothers were laid to rest in Mpumalanga on Saturday, 17 April 2021.

During the funeral, Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Community Liaison Vusi Shongwe said that government is concerned with the attacks happening on farms in the area.

Shongwe told the SABC that the incident should never happen again.

“We are going to make sure that between the farm owners and farm dwellers and workers there is cohesion; there is a working relationship and I think the farmers who did this, as they see the situation it is going touch their hearts and make sure this incident doesn’t happen again. We must say all of us; this must not happen in Mpumalanga.”

‘FARM ATTACKS A RESULT OF HISTORICAL AND UNDERLYING ISSUES’

Programs Manager at the Association for Rural Advancement, Siya Sithole said that the inequality between farm dwellers and farm owners could who live in the same land could somehow be the cause for the strange relations.

“You find that farm owners have access to basic services and enjoy their Constitutional rights, however, in the very same land, you find families who live there but do not have basic services such as water and lights. 

“Courts can’t solve these issues. There are underlying historical problems that are causing these issues. We know where this country comes from, we know the history, we know how some land was acquired, and even today some people are invading land.  We think a good solution would be a land reform platform that will bring all the parties together.”

FARM ATTACKS AND MURDERS HOTSPOTS IN SA

Sithole said that for years they have been working around finding solutions for these farm and land issues:

“We recently had an opportunity to present to the South African Human Rights Commission and other government portfolio committees. KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga are two provinces that have a high rate of farm attacks and murders.

In KZN, areas such as Newcastle, Vryheid, Dumbe, and Paulpietersburg are the most affected and in Mpumalanga, Piet Retief is the hotspot.”

READ: Farm Attacks: Safety and security in rural areas must be fixed, DA

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Presh JM Reporter

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