Redefining violence: The securitisation and desecuritisation of farm attacks in post-Apartheid South Africa.
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This thesis reconstructs and analyses the rural security policies from the post-apartheid South African government, from February 1997 to March 2017. Using securitisation theory, it explains how organised agriculture, based on their own statistics and perception of political motivated violence, successfully gained extraordinary security measures to protect white commercial farmers. It argues that the government compiled their own statistics on these incidents, which in 2003 proved to be predominantly robberies victimising other groups, as well. As common crime, the group to be protected grew to include workers, families and visitors on farms and smallholdings. Due to the historical and social context, the issue was desecuritised in 2011 by the government as incidents of common crime targeting the whole rural community. This must be seen as desecuritisation through rearticulation as the government redefined both the threat and the group to be protected, declining the numbers of attacks through normal policing. This rearticulation proved strong enough to withstand new attempts to securitise the acts of violence against the farming community. Nevertheless, representative institutions of the farming community still claim, based on their own statistics and perceptions, that the violence is still in part politically motivated, demanding more security as the threat remains. This could be seen as effective desecuritisation trough silencing, proving that desecuritisation theory is open for interpretation.