Fruitful meeting between organized agriculture and MEC for safety, security and liaison

Organized agriculture had a meeting with the MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison, MEC D Magadzi on Tuesday 21 July 2009. The Deputy Provincial Commissioner Ntlemeza represented the office of the Provincial Commissioner. Mr. Japie Spanio, chairperson of the Safety Committee of TAU SA North, said that important points were discussed and that the MEC allowed enough time to listen to the proposals. A Memorandum was handed over to the MEC in which the concerns of organized agriculture were put.
In The memorandum it was stated that the Farm Watch System supports the SAPS in the rural areas as far as crime prevention is concerned. Therefore, cooperation is of vital importance. The MEC was informed that the Farm Watch groups hold two major operations during the year. One in April and one in December. She was invited to visit the various groups during the operation. The SAPS was thanked for their generous support during the last operation in April and hope was expressed that the SAPS will continue to support this community initiative to prevent crime in the rural areas.
Open borders pose a real and serious threat to food- and bio security. An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease can destroy important clusters of the agricultural sector such as the game, cattle, fruit and vegetable and the million rand export industry. The MEC who was responsible for Agriculture during her previous term, said that she fully understand this difficult situation and will attend to the problem. A full report on border security compiled by the Red Producers Organization was handed over to her. The arbitrary actions of the SAPS must be discouraged and care must be taken from the Provincial Office to put administrative processes in place that is reasonable and procedurally fair. It was requested that a circular be drawn up to prevent the disastrous handling of the implementation of the fire arms act. Five different police stations all acted differently. This is a situation that cannot be tolerated.
It was made clear that the agricultural and other sectors can no longer carry the massive loss due to theft. It seems that not all members of the SAPS are trained to implement legislation. Some SAPS members do not report theft to the relevant organized crime units. It was requested that Police Stations be informed and trained on the procedure, urgency, economic consequences and threat to food security of cable-, stock- and game theft. The MEC requested to receive a list of all the unresolved case numbers with regard to cable theft. She promised to make sure to follow up on the unresolved cases.
It was stated that the Rural Safety Strategy in it current format is not acceptable, concentrate on many issues outside the constitutional mandate of the SAPS, and demonizes one sector of employers. The MEC made it clear that this document is still in a draft format and not final.
The MEC agreed to meet with organized agriculture on a regular basis. It was agreed that quarterly meetings will be scheduled to allow organized agriculture to discuss problems of mutual interest.