South Africa: Rural Safety Units Would Stop the Attacks

(file photo).
press release

The DA is alarmed by the six farm attacks which have occurred in the last 72 hours.

Attacks on anyone who lives on or visits a farm - have increased once again. The attacks are carefully planned, and without exception include violence, and frequently torture of the most horrific kinds. Even children are mercilessly targeted.

Farmers feed our nation and it is clear that the South African Police Service (SAPS) Rural Safety Strategy is a dismal failure. Police today rely heavily on private helicopters or fixed wings to get them to the site of the attacks. Yet the SAPS has a R86-billion budget.

The reason the much-vaunted Strategy has failed is because the Police Stations in the most hard hit rural areas, are under-staffed and under-resourced. The strategy needs to be overhauled.

Our farmers and farm workers do not deserve to live under siege.

In the 2016/17 financial year, South Africa experienced 52 murders per day. Of course this is totally unacceptable. It is a figure one might expect from a country at war.

The DA has long called for the reintroduction of specialised units within the SAPS as is the international best practice most likely to curb the rise of violent crime. This would include specific units to tackle rural safety.

The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must show decisive leadership and deal with the high crime rate, devising ways and means by which our most vulnerable members, such as women, children, and those living in deep rural areas, will be adequately protected.

The increased attacks on our farming communities continue unabated due to lack of leadership by the SAPS and the ANC government.

The DA calls on Cele to urgently prioritise the introduction of specialised units, including specifically a well-resourced and highly trained national rural safety unit, and we demand that he takes a strong line against the ongoing and criminal attacks on our farming communities. No one in South Africa should fear torture, rape and death.

Dianne Kohler Barnard MP

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police

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