The State Response to Violent Crime on South African Farms

Human Rights Watch
New York  Washington London Brussels

Copyright © August 2001 by Human Rights Watch
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN: 1-56432-263-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2001093393



This report was written by Bronwen Manby, senior researcher in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, and the sections on discrimination against women and sexual violence by Rumbi Mabuwa, researcher in the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, based on research carried out in South Africa in April and September 2000. The section on the situation in Ixopo was written by Cheryl Goodenough, as a consultant to Human Rights Watch, and edited by Bronwen Manby. The report was edited by Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa Division; by Regan Ralph and LaShawn Jefferson, executive director and deputy director of the Women's Rights Division; by James Ross, senior legal adviser; and by Malcolm Smart, program director. Maria Burnett-Gaudiani, Whitney Bryant, and Amanda Alexander proofread final versions. Tejal Jesrani formatted the report and prepared it for production.

The report would not have been possible without the collaboration and able assistance of the staff of the National Land Committee and its affiliated organizations. Jan Nolan, Tom Lebert, and Andile Mngxitama of the National Land Committee were central to the devising and implementation of the research and completion of the report. Maureen Moleya of the NLC was unfailingly efficient and helpful for all the administrative arrangements that had to be made. We would also like to thank in particular: Marc Wegerif, James Abhane and Shirhami Shirinda of the Nkuzi Development Association (Pietersburg); Musa Zwane of the Association for Rural Advancement (Pietermaritzburg); Alfred Ngomane of the Rural Action Committee (Nelspruit; now with Nkuzi); and Abdus Isaacs of the Surplus People Project (Cape Town). Other organizations also provided valuable assistance, including the Women on Farms Project, Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Centre for Rural Legal Studies (all in Stellenbosch). We would like to thank all those from the National Land Committee and other organizations who participated in a September 2000 workshop on the draft findings and recommendations of the report and gave their valuable insights. In particular, we acknowledge with respect and sadness the contribution of Alida van der Merwe, former director of the Centre for Rural Legal Studies and advocate for the rights of farmworkers, who died tragically in a car accident in June 2001.

We are also grateful for the assistance of the Transvaal Agricultural Union, the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, and Mike de Lange for setting up meetings with the owners of farms and smallholdings who have been victims of violent crime.

Many people gave their time to supply useful commentary and other information for the report, including in particular Jonny Steinberg, who generously shared the insights of his independent research, and also: Theunis Roux of the University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Law; Bronwyn Page-Shipp of the Centre for Rural Legal Studies; Mary de Haas of the University of Natal Durban Department of Social Anthropology; Mark Shaw of the South African Institute of International Affairs; and Tom Karis and Stephen Ellmann of the Advisory Committee of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch would like to thank the Ford Foundation and the Netherlands Organisation for International Development Cooperation (NOVIB) for their support for this report.

Last but not least, we would like to thank all those who gave their time to talk to us in the course of preparing this report, in particular both farm residents and farm owners who have been victims of violence.