North West Farmers Harnessing Drones to Assist in Tracking Farm Attacks

Potchefstroom – Farmers in the Schweizer-Reneke district in North West are soon going to use a drone to help speed up assistance to victims of farm attacks, and to track down the attackers.

Jacques Jordaan, one of the farmers driving the project, said they already had more than half of the R240 000 needed for the drone.  Most of this came from donations by members of the community, he told Netwerk24.

“After Tannie Elsa Erasmus’s murder [about two weeks ago] we realised that we could do more if we had equipment with night vision and thermal imaging.”

The body of Erasmus, 74, was only found a day after she was murdered on her farm near Amalia.

It is suspected that the killers kidnapped her from her farmhouse and shot her elsewhere on the farm.

Her body was noticed from the air during a search with police and private helicopters. However, this could only be done during the day.

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Jordaan said had they had night vision, she might have been found alive and the killers arrested.

When Erasmus’s bakkie, in which the killers had fled, was found, it was still warm inside. It is suspected that they had slept in the vehicle after the attack.

“A drone with night vision and thermal imaging would probably been able to track them down,” said Jordaan.

No one has been arrested in connection with the murder.

Night vision equipment 

According to Jordaan, the drone itself isn’t so expensive. However, the night vision equipment fitted to it, is.

“Drones have different uses, depending on the equipment fitted,” Jordaan explained. “Farmers, for example, use them for counting cattle.”

Jordaan said if donations top that which is needed for the drone, it will be used to buy additional security equipment such as bulletproof vests.

In at least two of the six farm attacks in North West during the past three months, farmers and members of AfriForum helped police track down the suspects.

Jordaan said in a recent hijacking at diamond diggings in North West, farmers helped by blocking off roads.

“The criminals had to flee though fields and were caught there.”

Source: News24