Free State staggers under farm murders

Vrystaat steier onder plaasmoorde

The recent farm murder of Poenkie Bisset from Smithfield brings the number of farm murders in the Free State to ten. The Free State was rocked by 53 farm attacks on agricultural land, which included 9 murders, during April 1 to November 30, 2020. The Bisset murder at Smithfield is the 10th murder on agricultural land since April 2020.

According to Dr. Jane Buys, Safety Risk Analyst at Free State Agriculture (FSA), there were 34 farm attacks in the same period last year (2019) that included 6 murders. “This indicates an increase of 19 farm attacks / murders (35.9%) in the Free State.” says Buys.

She further mentions that in the majority of attacks / murders (28) cash, cell phones or firearms were stolen, while in three attacks vehicles were also stolen from victims. In nine incidents, nothing was robbed due to the quick response by the victims to resist. In three attacks, sheep and cattle were robbed and in three other attacks, attempts were made to rob animals (especially cattle across borders).

Buys also pointed out that most of the farm attacks or murders took place during November (12). An increase in farm attacks and murders is therefore detected in November 2020 and the run-up to the festive season could possibly contribute to a further increase.

Meanwhile, Jacobus Stroebel, regional representative of Free State Agriculture, says that “the brutal murder of Bissett once again shows the vulnerability of farmers, especially our older people.” It is important that farmers empower themselves, their families and workers and reduce their vulnerability as far as possible by always being vigilant.” He reiterates that it is extremely important that farmers form part of organized security structures in their area.

The three suspects arrested in connection with Bisset’s murder appeared in court again on 21 December.

Die onlangse plaasmoord van Poenkie Bisset van Smithfield, bring die aantal plaasmoorde in die Vrystaat op tien te staan. Die Vrystaat is gedurende 1 April tot 30 November 2020 deur 53 plaasaanvalle op landbougrond geruk. Die Bisset moord te Smithfield is die 10de moord op landbougrond sedert April 2020.

Volgens dr. Jane Buys, Veiligheidsrisiko-analis van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), het daar in dieselfde periode verlede jaar (2019) 34 plaasaanvalle wat 6 moorde insluit, plaasgevind. “Dit dui dus op ʼn toename van 19 plaasaanvalle / moorde (35.9%) in die Vrystaat.” sê Buys.

Sy noem verder dat daar in die oorgrote meerderheid van aanvalle/moorde (28) kontant, selfone of vuurwapens geroof is terwyl daar in drie aanvalle ook voertuie van slagoffers geroof is. In nege insidente is niks geroof nie danksy die vinnige reaksie van die slagoffers om weerstand te bied.  In drie aanvalle is skape en beeste geroof en is daar in drie ander aanvalle gepoog om diere te roof (veral beeste oorgrens).

Buys het ook uitgewys dat die meeste van die plaasaanvalle of –moorde gedurende November (12) plaasgevind het. Daar word dus ʼn toename in plaasaanvalle en –moorde bespeur in November 2020 en die aanloop tot die feesseisoen kan moontlik bydra tot ʼn verdere toename.

Intussen sê Jacobus Stroebel, streekverteenwoordiger van Vrystaat Landbou, dat “die brutale moord op Bissett net weereens op die weerloosheid van landbouers wys, veral ons ouer mense.” Dit is belangrik dat boere hulself, hul gesinne en werkers bemagtig en hul weerloosheid so ver moontlik verminder deur altyd paraat te wees.” Hy wys weer daarop dat dit uiters noodsaaklik is dat landbouers moet deel vorm van georganiseerde veiligheidstrukture in hul omgewing.

Die drie verdagtes wat in verband met Bisset se moord in hegtenis geneem is, verskyn weer 21 Desember in die hof.