The aim of this study is to determine the security relevance of farm attacks in South Africa. This is based on the propositions that indications exist that farm attacks in the RSA reflect more than common criminality; that the combating of farm attacks requires specific measures; and that farm attacks in other African states, as well as prior to 1994 in some instances also in South Africa, had demonstrated specific political motives. In the search for the underlying causes behind the incidence of farm attacks, aspects such as the occurence of farm attacks elsewhere in Africa; the political history of the RSA; the dynamics associated with an increase in crime during political transition; land reform; and the extent of farm attacks in the RSA, were analysed. The occurence of farm attacks seems not to be unique to South Africa, as attacks of this nature also occurred in other African states such as Kenya and Zimbabwe. As could have been expected from international experience, crime increased substantially in South Africa during a period of radical political transition. Farm attacks, which inherently manifest as violent crimes, also increased, especially during the period between 1997 and 2001. Developments during South Africa’s political past led to a situation in which a substantial part of the population lost not only their political rights, but also their land. As a result, land reform is high on the agenda of those who feel deprived, as well as that of the government. The findings reached by commissions of enquiry and research into the causes of farm attacks reveal that crime is the single most important motive for farm attacks. Other motives were identified in single cases, but no common sinister motive or any specific organisation instigating farm attacks could be established. Although the level of trust between the farming community and government has in some cases suffered considerable harm, both parties are bound to the combating of farm attacks, including participation in the implementation of combined strategies such as the Rural Safety Plan. The occurrence of farm attacks is clearly a significant security issue. Although it is not yet considered as posing an immediate direct threat to national security, it has already been recognized that farm attacks could negatively impact on food security. The possibility of this phenomenon developing into a full-fledged national security issue, can thus not be excluded.
Dissertation (M (Security Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2006.