Political parties co-operate on national rural safety plan

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Apart from garnering as speedy a response as what government bureaucracy will allow, this week’s Parliamentary debate of national importance on farm attacks and murders showed political parties from across the spectrum can co-operate in the best interests of South Africa.

This is, in essence, one observation of Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of state security, Dianne Kohler Barnard, following the debate on Tuesday.

She said the DA called on all political parties that pledged support to the farming community during the debate to band together and demand immediate and effective implementation of the national Rural Safety Plan.

“We welcome the 180 degree turn by the ANC which suddenly decided murderous farm attacks are serious and need to be addressed. First, it was KwaZulu-Natal premier, Sihle Zikalala, who broke ranks followed by a veritable deluge of ANC comments – culminating in a statement by Deputy President David Mabuza.

“We want it on record we are not concerned about the motivation behind this volte face, whether it is a reflection of ANC infighting with a faction attempting to show up President Cyril Ramaphosa who denied farm attacks are happening, or not.

“The point is our campaign has booted this issue off the back burner – where it languished for some 20 years ignored by governing politicians and media alike.

“This nation swore in its Constitution to keep every South African safe and not just some of us, and its past time these tortures and murders are stopped.

“The DA was pleased the ACDP, IFP, ANC, FF+, UDM and Al Jama’ah supported us in the National Assembly,” the former shadow police minister said in a statement.

She “noted” Police Minister Bheki Cele “pulling out of the debate” saying “all we ask is he does his job and pushes the National Police Commissioner to re-introduce rural safety units and beef up rural police stations so the fine words in the Rural Safety Plan can actually be lifted from the page and implemented”.

Kohler Barnard would be communicating with Police Portfolio Committee chair, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to summons Cele to ensure “his promises are delivered on”.

In this regard she pointed out it would be “delivery on a promise made by then president Mbeki who cut the Commandos of the SA National Defence Force in 2003 with zero warning and who promised a specialised rural safety unit would take their place. There has been no movement in this regard since”.