n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - A theoretical perspective on farm attacks in the South African farming community

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



South Africa is a traumatised society where crime in all its various forms is becoming an increasing crisis. The threat of crime and the accompanying victimisation affect the quality of life of all South Africans. Farm attacks showed a steep increase over the last couple of years, despite increasing safety precautions taken by farmers. Farm attacks increased at a tempo far beyond the increase in other forms of crime. This article endeavours to provide a theoretical perspective on farm attacks by focusing on the various forms and characteristics of, as well as motives for and consequences of farm attacks.

The various forms of farm attacks identified, are detainment, armed robbery, violent attacks, murder and vehicle hijacking. The characteristics of farm attacks include aspects such as calculated military precision, the presence of strangers in the area, black and white farmers as victims, gang activities, threats, vulnerability, the status of the victim, false identification, ambuscade, arson, the time of attack and organised crime. The culture of violence, poverty, unemployment, hardship, retaliation, hatred, negative working relationships, illegal immigrants, the availability of firearms, political motives, land claims, intimidation and frustration are all cited as motives for farm attacks. In addition to economic consequences, farm attacks also have political and psycho-social consequences.

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