Farm Attacks in Rural South Africa: An Economic Explanation

Farm attacks have become a national scourge in South Africa. Between April 1994 and April 1998, 464 farmers were murdered on South African farms. Using the example of North West Province, the authors consider to what extent economic factors – such as poverty, inequality and unemployment – may contribute to the high incidence of farm attacks. The Human Sciences Research Council predicts an increase in unemployment in the province up to 43 percent by 2001. Trade liberalization, tariff reduction and limited prospects in mining are some of the factors that contribute to this increase in unemployment and thus to greater inequality. There is a clear correlation between these trends and the escalation of social instability and crime. The authors propose the following measures to improve the level of economic development and stability in the rural and commercial farm areas of North West Province: stimulation of economic growth, investment in human capital and entrepreneurship, and strengthening of good governance and partnerships between commercial agriculture and government. Notes, ref.

Title: Farm Attacks in Rural South Africa: An Economic Explanation
Authors: Naude, Willem A.
Van Rensburg, Larette
Year: 1999
Periodical: Africa Insight
Volume: 29
Issue: 3-4
Pages: 50-55
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
Abstract: Farm attacks have become a national scourge in South Africa. Between April 1994 and April 1998, 464 farmers were murdered on South African farms. Using the example of North West Province, the authors consider to what extent economic factors – such as poverty, inequality and unemployment – may contribute to the high incidence of farm attacks. The Human Sciences Research Council predicts an increase in unemployment in the province up to 43 percent by 2001. Trade liberalization, tariff reduction and limited prospects in mining are some of the factors that contribute to this increase in unemployment and thus to greater inequality. There is a clear correlation between these trends and the escalation of social instability and crime. The authors propose the following measures to improve the level of economic development and stability in the rural and commercial farm areas of North West Province: stimulation of economic growth, investment in human capital and entrepreneurship, and strengthening of good governance and partnerships between commercial agriculture and government. Notes, ref.