Rural security in Gauteng not a given


South Africa’s smallest and most urbanised province – Gauteng – is not immune to the scourge of farm attacks and murders.

The provincial Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) tasked with community safety, Faith Mazibuko, said there were 445 farm attacks in Gauteng in the financial year which ended on 31 March 2020. In a written response to a question posed by Freedom Front Plus (FF+) MPL Kobus Hoffman, she stated 11 people were killed during the execution of rural crimes in the 12 month period and just three suspects arrested.

“This is yet another illustration echoing constant FF+ warnings that Gauteng police are failing rural communities in the province,” he said adding it was high time the national rural security plan was properly implemented and managed.

There are three rural crime hotspots in Gauteng with two – Hekpoort and Muldersdrift on the West Rand. The third is Kameeldrift, east of Pretoria.

Hoffman’s call comes weeks after Police Minister Bheki Cele reportedly told a meeting of farmers and others involved in agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal there was no need to declare farm attacks and murders a priority crime. This was because they were included in the national effort against attacks on people and property as well as murder.

The newest addition to the list of deaths in farm attacks is a 21-year-old Free State farmer killed on the farm Duikfontein in the Paul Roux district on Friday 2 October.

According to a provincial SA Police Service statement two suspects were in arrested in Fateng tse Ntho, Paul Roux a day after Brendin Horner’s body was found. The suspects were reportedly in possession of bloodied clothing and shoes belonging to Horner.

Indications are Horner was killed during an encounter with suspected stock thieves.

The speedy arrest was welcomed by Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL Leona Kleynhans.

“We now hope for an equally speedy investigation, trial and conviction,” she said adding rural communities in Free State are increasingly being preyed on by stock thieves and others intent on harm.

“This cannot go unpunished. We hope a message will go out by way of the speedy arrests and follow-up action in the Horner killing,” she said.