As the latest topic here is raging around farm attacks, let me just add a little perspective.
According to the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Farm Attacks in 2003- http://www.issafrica.org/CJM/farmrep/index.htm - "The South African Agricultural Union (SAAU, now Agri SA, the umbrella organisation for most commercial farmers in South Africa) started collecting statistics in 1991. If those are read together with the official figures being kept since 1997, farm attacks increased from 327 in 1991, resulting in 66 murders, to 1011 in 2001, resulting in 147 deaths. In total there were 6122 farm attacks and 1254 killings during those 11 years."
Now, there's no complaint that that's a serious statistic, and that any attack against farmers in South Africa is an attack against our country's food security.
However, a quick look on the SAPS' official statistics on their website - http://www.saps.gov.za/statistics/reports/crimestats/2011/categories/murder.pdf - reveals that in 2011 there were 15 940 murders nationally, in 2010 there were 16 834, in 2009 there were 18 148, in 2007 there were 18 487... you get the picture.
Now, I'm not going to try to add all those murders up over 11 years, but we can safely agree that there are probably far more murders in reality than those the SAPS officially capture.
The vulnerability of farmers is exacerbated by the tiny minority of our population they make up, and the number of incidences which occur. That some radical political movements - on both sides of the fence - have politicised their deaths further magnifies what is happening.
My question though is this: where are the stories about the other murders? We only see a small fraction of what's really going on in the media, because nobody cares if one township youth beat another one to death with a stone, or if a wife stabbed her husband to death during a domestic dispute. There are no headlines there, and very little revealed by the police, and so the story never hits the public consciousness.
The sheer numbers, however, say that we should be asking who these faceless victims are. Are they hijack victims? Are they innocent bystanders of bank heists? Are they children murdered by their parents?
Regardless of the impact that their murder has on society, I ask you to spare a thought for them as well.
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