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‘Criminal justice system not doing enough to prevent attacks on farmers’

An investigation shows there have been 148 attacks and 33 murders since January this year.

FILE: A report says the police must focus on developing policies and strategies to implement a rural safety plan. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says the criminal justice system is not doing enough to deter violent attacks on farmers.

An investigation shows there have been 148 attacks and 33 murders since January this year.

A report says the police must focus on developing policies and strategies to implement a rural safety plan and engage stakeholders on what is needed to police farming areas.

Commissioner Danny Titus says the police, National Prosecuting Authority and Parliament must step up their involvement in stopping attacks on farm communities.

He says the criminal justice system is just too weak to deter the unacceptably high levels of violence and crime in farming areas.

"The criminal justice system is not enough deterrent for perpetrators they operate well within a community."

Titus says the commission will have to work hard to ensure these recommendations are adhered to.

"Chapter 9 Institutions are generally nor respected in this country. So we will have to take that responsibility on ourselves to see to it."

He says the commission will use its monitoring and evaluation tools to ensure that the recommendations are implemented over the next year.

The commission says an investigation into farm attacks has highlighted a number of key actions to be taken to combat the problem.

Titus says the justice department must accept that farming communities are soft targets.

He says criminals are attacking the country's food security.

"They are disrupting farming communities, and we need to find a way on how we can make our criminal justice system work."

Titus says while the commission has found that race is not the root cause of the attacks, particular attention must be paid to race relations.

"During the attacks, in particular the race overtones and undertones, that is part of the South African society that needs to transform."

Titus says the national prosecuting authority and the police have not done enough to ensure that victims are supported and it's recommended that a clearer support framework be established.