Over R500m worth of stock stolen - AgriSA

2014-09-16 21:38
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Johannesburg - About R516m worth of animals have been stolen on farms so far this year, AgriSA said on Tuesday.

Kobus Breytenbach, chairperson of AgriSA's rural safety committee, was speaking at the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Johannesburg.

He said robbery was the main motivation for farm attacks.

Breytenbach said hate speech with strong racial undertones directed at farmers was one of the factors which contributed to farm attacks.

He said farmers were too often depicted as racists which was not true and unfair.

Breytenbach praised government's rural safety plan, describing it as a well-constructed strategy.

Rural development chief director Vuyiswa Nxasana also addressed the hearing.

She told the SAHRC that the department was concerned with the culture of land rights for the 2.7 million people who lived on farms in the country.

She said the department wanted to develop a policy around land rights and its problems.

"We don't always have the skills or capacity to tackle the issues of safety and rights of farm dwellers.

"We are struggling to monitor illegal evictions because we don't have enough presence on the farms."

She said law enforcement agencies needed to work with the department, especially in matters like illegal evictions.

She said many courts failed to convict people who had illegally evicted people off farms.

Landowners had the right to safety and needed to feel that their rights were also being respected, she said.

She said she had been working in the rural development department since 1997 and that ensuring the public knew the legislation when it came to their land rights was still difficult.

Most conflicts were sorted through the alternative dispute resolution functions, rather than through the judicial system, Nxasana said.

The department wanted to establish a land rights management facility to facilitate disputes with independent mediators.

Read more on:    agrisa  |  sahrc  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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