New – no extra cost- rural safety plan unveiled


The Democratic Alliance (DA) unveiled an innovative rural safety plan which, it maintains, will not need extra funding from National Treasury to work.

The party’s shadow police minister Andrew Whitfield said the plan has a boots on the ground community focus to rural safety that will see technology extensively applied.

“South Africa’s rural communities are under siege by violent criminals. We regularly hear of heinous acts of violence and crime in vulnerable rural communities. This needs to stop,” he said in Cape Town.

“The country’s vulnerable rural communities need urgent, clear and decisive action. Attacks on farmers, farm workers and rural communities are an attack on our rural economy. It is time to put political differences aside and work across party lines to implement a rural safety plan that benefits all South Africans.”

The DA rural safety plan which Whitfield stressed is presented by a political party in Parliamentary opposition has five major components. They are the establishment of rural policing sectors, putting boots on the ground in the form of police and various reservist categories, community policing and creating rural community policing units and rural policing support networks.

As far as technology goes, Whitfield sees a dedicated rural radio network providing information on suspicious activity and safety risks as well as distress calls. Additionally, he sees it bringing rural communities closer.

The DA rural safety plan makes provision for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide extra “ears and eyes” in the fight against farm attacks and murders.

“UAV or drone technology is successfully used worldwide because it is cheaper, outperforms conventional policing and deters criminals. Equipping a drone with thermal imaging, night vision or infrared imaging technology, makes it possible for suspects to be identified and pursued in any conditions and any time of day. Drone technology would add immeasurable value to the fight against rural crime and violence,” he said.

Whitfield said the plan would ease restrictions on people becoming police reservists and he also wants them remunerated for their time and effort.

Funding, he and his party maintain, is there in the form of R3 billion currently allocated to VIP protection in the SA Police Service (SAPS) budget.

“The suggestion is for this to be cut by R2 billion with R200 000 going to IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) to boost its corruption fighting activities and the remaining R1.8 billion to visible policing, earmarked for rural safety and security,” Whitfield said.