Agricultural community more vulnerable

During the past year the farming community has been more vulnerable than in the previous year, with an increase of almost 25% in farm attacks. The number of murders committed during such attacks remained approximately the same. “Most attacks were in the form of robberies, and the brutality that accompanies such attacks was shocking and constitutes a breach of the farming community’s constitutional right to freedom and security of their person. Agri SA is especially concerned about the increase in property crimes on farms, which leads to big financial loss for farmers,” said Kiewiet Ferreira, chairman of Agri SA’s Law and Order Committee. The Government is not adequately meeting its responsibility to combat crime and although there are good plans in place, the crime situation is badly managed. It is against this background that Agri SA has requested the Minister of Safety and Security to meet with the organisation to discuss the security situation in rural areas. The purpose of the discussion is to join the police in finding ways in which to give momentum to the implementation of sector policing, backed by reservists, in rural areas. Attention will also be given to the allocation of resources to implement the system effectively as replacement of the commando system that is in the process of being phased out. Agri SA supports sector policing but greater attention should be given to the establishment thereof in rural areas. Where this system is already implemented, good results have been achieved with the help of the farming community, with a decline in crime being observed. According to the crime figures released by the Minister of Safety and Security today, attacks had increased from 636 to 794. The biggest increase occurred in the North West province, followed by the Free State and Gauteng. Mpumalanga, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal were most affected by murders. Crime in all its forms has a negative effect on the farming community, not only in terms of profitability but also their right to live and work in safety. This is a situation that has deteriorated further with the increase in attacks and the accompanying material loss and loss of entrepreneurship. Agriculture also has a variety of expertise, which should be protected as a national asset of the country. Issued by the Directorate: Corporate Liaison – Agri SA