Community’s interest must be considered

“The court must take the community’s interest into account when the alleged criminals apply for bail or when courts consider appropriate sentences for the accused in farm attack cases,” said Tommy Esterhuyse, chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety. He was responding to the postponement of bail hearings for the accused in the murder of Pieter Hills, a farmer in the Hennenman district, whose son, Eddie, was seriously injured during the attack and is now in a critical condition in hospital.

Esterhuyse also reacted to the death of Tebogo Machakela, a stock owner of Odendaalsrus, who was seriously injured during a store robbery in August 2020 and died of his injuries last week. In this case, the alleged criminals have not yet been arrested. Esterhuyse called on the police to do everything possible to find the perpetrators and bring them before the court.

“The unabated attacks on farmers and farmworkers must be strongly condemned. These brutal assaults affect not only farmers and farmworkers, but also households and the broader community. Farm attacks remain shocking and have a traumatic effect on the communities where they occur. Such communities also have the right to make their voices heard in a peaceful and law-abiding manner during court proceedings, and to make the courts aware of the impact of violence and murders on farms. Communities should also use the opportunity to provide the court with information that could result in harsher sentences,” said Esterhuyse.

The disregard for law and order by criminals has a negative impact on rural communities. Agri SA is of the opinion that, like all other citizens, the farming community has a constitutional right to protection, and therefore called on the government to respond with conviction and not to waiver in upholding law and order in rural areas.

Agri SA again called on the police to attend swiftly to the resource requirements, needed for the Rural Safety Strategy, so that the strategy can be effectively implemented and, so doing, further contribute towards combating rural crime and protecting the community.

When farmers are targeted by criminals, as in the case of farm attacks, land invasions and property-related crime, and such cases are reported, the police are expected to carry out their responsibilities and offer the necessary assistance. The blatant disregard on the part of some police officers to perform their duty by investigating crime, cannot be tolerated. Members are encouraged to identify these officers and report them to the relevant authority structures of the police so that poor service delivery can be identified, and action can be taken against them. The police management is expected to act strongly against officers who are found guilty of neglecting their duties.


Tommie Esterhuyse

Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety

(C) 082 782 0668

Kobus Visser

Director: Agri SA Rural Safety and Provincial Affairs

(C) 082 388 0010