The murder of farmer Dirk Steenkamp (71) on Sunday (05/03) has once again raised grave concern regarding the safety of farmers. According to the police he was shot dead on his farm Palmietfontein. The seven armed suspects are still at large, according to the police. WO Loraine Earle, the provincial police spokesperson, says the police are searching for the suspects. Earle says the suspects took a firearm and cellphone of the deceased and fled. “The suspects overpowered him outside his farm house and shot him dead. He had been working on a water pump the morning when six or seven men overpowered and shot him,” says Earle, adding that a murder and robbery case was under investigation.Free State Agriculture (FSA) and the DA have expressed shock over the killing of Steenkamp. “The fact that a farmer cannot turn on a water pump more than 50 m from his home and that he has to be armed to do it, tell us that government fails in safeguarding farmers,” says Tommie Esterhuyse, FSA vice president.“Dirk was a well-known farmer in the area and very actively involved in the community. He reached out to the community, not only to farmers,” says Esterhuyse.“The DA has repeatedly called on government to establish specialised rural safety units within the SAPS to improve safety and security. “We further call on all leaders of society to condemn attacks such as these and refrain from using inflammatory language that may incite violence, especially during the debates surrounding land and land reform,” says Patricia Kopane, DA Member of Parliament and provincial leader.