Violent attacks and hate crime on minority groups in South Africa are largely unreported with few atrocities making headline news. We break down the available information and explore the limitations of the data available, to present our report on Systematic Genocide.

Is there a crisis?

We certainly think so.

This is the only crime publicly advocated by politicians – watch video.

The murder statistics of farmers for example stand at 150 / 100,000 people. The national average is 35 / 100,000 people. This single fact repudiates any claims that farm attacks are just ordinary crimes.


South Africa consist of a variety of ethnic groups, speak a variety of languages, and have different faiths. Christians for example can hardly be considered as belonging to a monolithic faith, as there are many distinct groups: for example the Afrikaans-speaking people known as the “Boers” or “Afrikaners” who are deeply conservative and typically have a protestant faith tradition. Many of these families are descendants of the French Protestants called Huguenots, who fled from religious persecution and slavery in Europe, only two centuries ago.

The English-speaking people, often from British descend and typically having an Anglican or Catholic faith tradition also make up a large portion of people. And then there are the African initiates, that typically belong to the largest church in Africa, known as the Zion Christian Church, to name just a few of the biggest faith communities.

Since 1994, when the ANC government came into power in South Africa, hate crime in the extreme form of rape, torture, and murder, was observed by humanitarian and religious interest groups. It could be argued, that many of these atrocities involve racism, have ethnic undertones, or perhaps are motivated by factors such as criminality or poverty. However, for our report, these factors remain irrelevant. Wherever any minority, ethnic group, or religious community are being oppressed or mistreated, this should be addressed, with swift and effective countermeasures.

Profile of aTypical Attack


Our focus in this report is on ethnic groups subject to existential threat in South Africa

In this report, large scale oppression, economic discrimination, and factors that promote forced displacement of families are not addressed. For example, the complexity of statistical models, that reflect forced emigration, versus voluntary emigration, is best addressed by organizations, with sufficient resources to produce such reports. Suffice to state, that we are unaware of an accurate antithesis, that can disprove a general statement such as: Over a million families, have abandoned the country in the past 25 years, citing hate crime, violence and racist government policies as reasons for fleeing.

Read our report on the Big Exodus.

In this report, we attempt to expand the statistical scope, to include urban attacks and murders, by using metrics that could be indicative of the extend of persecution. We do not limit the report, to the size of property owned by the victim or hinge the data on the victim’s occupation. All lives matter, whether the persecution and victimization occurs in a rural or urban setting, regardless of whether the victim is a farmer or non-farmer.


One metric, that have received attention in recent years, is that of rural attacks in the agricultural sector. However, since crime is largely under-reported in South Africa, the actual figures may be much higher and the reader is cautioned, about the limitations of our research, given the inaccuracies of the source data. South African Police statistics, for example, do not accurately report on ethnicity or religion and so estimates have to be extrapolated, from overall crime figures.

Hate crimes and murders are sometimes reported as farm attacks, by the media, when they do not meet the police’s definition. For example, a crime may take place on a property, where no agriculture activities occur and so will not be included in the statistics released by the government. Further, the South African Police did not collect statistics on attacks and murders on farms and smallholdings before 1997. Nevertheless, the potential for this metric, as an indicator deserves further scrutiny and analyses.


Rural Attacks

The terms “farm attack”, “farm murder” or its equivalent in Afrikaans “plaas aanval” and “plaas moord”, are popularly used to refer to crimes committed in rural areas. The official definition was formally introduced in the South African Police Services’ Rural Safety Strategy:

“Acts of violence against person/s on farms and smallholdings refer to acts aimed at person/s residing on, working on or visiting farms and small holdings, whether with the intent to murder, rape, rob or inflict bodily harm. In addition, all acts of violence against the infrastructure and property in the rural community aimed at disrupting legal farming activities as a commercial concern, whether the motive/s are related to ideology, land disputes, land issues, revenge, grievances, racist concerns or intimidation are included.”

Rural Area

Rural areas are defined as “sparsely populated areas in which people farm or depend on natural resources, including villages and small towns that are dispersed through these areas. (Integrated Rural Development Framework of 1997).

Rural Farms

A property needs to be involved in agriculture for an attack or murder to be flagged as an act “of violence against persons on farms and smallholdings”, the police’s Rural Safety Strategy states.

A farm is defined as an “area of land and its buildings used for agricultural and livestock purposes, including cattle posts and rural villages where subsistence farming takes place”.  A smallholding is an “agricultural holding that is smaller than a farm”. Smallholdings “where no agricultural activities take place” or those that are “predominantly residential” are excluded from the definition thus further skewing the source data.

Rural Attacks and Murders

While no single organization, appear to report accurately on crime in rural areas, we can consolidate some of the data presented by government sources and private organizations such as the Rome Research Institute of South Africa, Afriforum, and the South African Agricultural Union. In cases where reports have overlapping periods, we compared data points and when discrepancies were found, those are accommodated by applying industry-standard smoothing techniques. A composite model for Genocide Statistics can thus be presented as follows:

2019 Statistics Overview:

Attacks in Rural Areas between 1990 and 2019

Murders in Rural Areas between 1990 and 2019

Christians Murdered

Urban Attacks and Murders

An extraordinary number of models exist, to account for attacks on a specific ethnic group or religious faith in Urban areas. We do not purport that our method is the best or only method, but hopefully, do present the reader with a sense of scale and observable trends. Using the crime figures provided by the South African Ministry of Safety and Security and demographics widely published, we can collate a potential representation of the current situation. In the graphs below, we used the official statistics for Robbery with Aggravated Circumstances and Homicide as datasets and then factored in the segments, most likely to represent a persecuted minority. While many considerations could be identified that skew the numbers, until evidence to the contrary is presented, we stand by our claim that actual figures is unlikely to present a more positive view.

Nature of Attacks

One report by the Rome Research Institute of South Africa, could be useful for establishing certain trends about the nature of attacks for our Genocide Statistics report. For example a Time of Day study suggest most attacks occur between 10pm and 5am.

Time of Day people are attacked
Time of Day people are attacked. Source: Rome Research Institute of South Africa 2018

We also learn that victims living by themselves are the most targeted people.

 Single people are the most targeted by Criminals
Single people are the most targeted by Criminals. Source: Rome Research Institute of South Africa 2018

Further study show, the attackers normally gang up, to comprise three or more people.

Attackers comprise of three or more people in a gang.
Attackers comprise of three or more people in a gang. Source: Rome Research Institute of South Africa 2018

If the attack involves robbery, the most popular items stolen are mobile phones and guns.

The most popular items stolen are mobile phones and guns
The most popular items stolen are mobile phones and guns. Source: Rome Research Institute of South Africa 2018

The extent of injuries, have also been studied. And the nature of the crimes suggest a vengeful, hatred motif.

The nature of the crimes suggest a vengeful, hatred motif.
The nature of the crimes suggest a vengeful, hatred motif. Source: Rome Research Institute of South Africa 2018

Further Research

We are actively seeking funding, to further our research and ability to provide accurate data.

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