Prof says AfriForum farm murder stats misleading and genocide claims are false
Farm murders has been a highly contested issue and AfriForum have released statistics to support the fact that there is a war against white people.
But do these numbers tally?
The question being raised is whether there is indeed a war against white people in the way that AfriForum supporters have framed it?
Law professor at North West University, Elmien du Plessis, has argued that the lobby group's own numbers don't support claims of genocide against whites farmers in SA.
I am not saying the statistics are not true, but the expectation of it is problematic.Elmien du Plessis, associate law professor North West University
She explains that she deplores any kind of murder, acknowledges the grief people suffer when losing family and friends and they should be condemned.
But in her tweets she questioned whether there is really a concerted attack on white people.
And I used AfriForum's own statistics for a very specific purpose... and I hope it highlights the problem and opens the debate so we can speak about these things.Elmien du Plessis, associate law professor North West University
She explains that to calculate a statistic, a nominator, in this case the number of murders - and a denominator, the pool of people used to calculate per 100 000, are used - but how you determine the denominator will influence the statistical outcome greatly.
AfriForum use the figure of 74 farm murders which is then divided by a denominator. But Du Plessis says the choice of denominator they use is problematic.
If you use 32 000 it is very high, but that is just commercial farmers and it does not include their families, it does not include the small holdings, it does not include farm workers. If you include all the people in the rural area you get to a number of 800 000 and that will change the rate.Elmien du Plessis, associate law professor North West University
One rate that AfriForum uses is 158 murders per 100 000 people. Our national average is 34.
In 2016/2017 there were 74 farm murders (this includes murders on small-holdings, which some people leave out of the calculation in other stats).— Elmien du Plessis (@elmienduplessis) May 5, 2018
At this rate it will take 432 years to kill all the commercial farmers (and families). pic.twitter.com/TSmAG7Llgr
So they may say you are five times more likely to get murdered if you are a farmer. And it is not clear how they got to that number.Elmien du Plessis, associate law professor North West University
Du Plessis has been threatened for her views. She says while the AfriForum leadership might not want to harm her, the statements it has made could illicit such a response from its following. After her critical response to to the statistics, she says she received a number of threatening emails and phone calls.
Take a listen to how Du Plessis critiques AfriForum's calculations of farm murders in SA:
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