The recently released national crime statistics for the first quarter of the year make no specific mention of rural crime, including murder. This changed over the weekend with murders in two provinces prompting the Democratic Alliance (DA) to call for a commission of inquiry.
At the same time two Western Cape provincial executive members elaborated on progress in combating rural crime.
“The WCG worked hard to implement the provincial rural safety plan, which requires the government to form partnerships with the SAPS (SA Police Service), neighbourhood and farm watches, the private sector and other structures that can contribute to making our rural communities safer,” provincial agriculture minister Ivan Meyer told a rural safety meeting at Elsenburg, Stellenbosch. This was in line with the meeting theme of the importance of collaboration and partnership.
Provincial police oversight and community safety minister Reagen Allen told the meeting: “We aim to ensure evert corner of Western Cape becomes a safer space”.
“Residents should be able to live free from fear and in an improved, safer and dignified manner. Our farm workers and owners should be able to go about their business of feeding the nation and boosting our economy without having to be concerned they will be targeted by criminals.”
In South Africa’s northernmost province, Limpopo, two “heinous” farm murders plus the Western Cape deaths of Pierre and Belinda De Kock on the farm in Aurora, served as backing for shadow agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Noko Masipa to seek a commission of inquiry.
“The DA is gravely concerned about the rising number of farm murders, which further underscores an urgent need for effective action to address this issue. It is deeply troubling there have been five farm murders this weekend (3, 4 June) alone. We cannot stand idly by as farming communities live in constant fear of their lives and face the devastation of losing loved ones,” she said adding “arm murders threaten the country’s food security”.
Mapisa maintains Police Minister Bheki Cele and “his” SAPS are clearly failing people in rural areas notwithstanding an existing rural safety plan.