The issue of rural crime is going to be tabled earlier rather than later once South Africa’s sixth parliament gets to work after the 20 June State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Two political parties and a representative agricultural organisation have highlighted recent rural attacks on farmers and farm workers in provinces as far afield as Limpopo and Western Cape.
Transvaal Agricultural Union deputy president Henry Geldenhuys is quoted as saying his organisation, while noting the national murder figure of 53 a day, finds 46 attacks and seven murders on farms in May just as unacceptable. He wants government, the SA Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to come up with some sort of workable solution within a month – “the collapse of law and order cannot go on any longer” according to him.
Freedom Front Plus (FF+), which increased its Parliamentary representation at the May national elections, will be taking up the issue of rural security in Parliament this month.
Ahead of that party leader Pieter Groenewald maintains the recent “wave of violent farm attacks and murders” is again a reminder of the need for specialist police units. This would include the former murder and robbery unit and an additional one, mandated only to investigate and prevent farm and rural attacks.
He pointed to the level of cruelty found in some of the attacks and asked why it was not raised by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his inauguration. As examples of cruelty Groenewald gave a female farm murder activist bludgeoned to death with a metal pipe in Limpopo and two young people murdered in Gauteng in broad daylight when their vehicle ran out of fuel. Elsewhere an elderly farming couple were tortured before the wife was killed.
“Violent crime has become far too prevalent in South Africa and it threatens peace, stability and human relations. The FF+ will put more pressure on government to take serious action and combat crime effectively,” Groenewald said.
Democratic Alliance (DA) party parliamentary caucus chair Annelie Lotriet, said farm attacks and murders have become “untenable” adding it appeared the DA’s longstanding appeal for integration of rural safety units is falling on deaf ears.
The DA plans to urgently meet national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, to discuss farm attacks, murders and rural security.
“The DA has a clear rural safety plan and we will highlight related issues to General Sitole,” she said.