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Kwanalu

The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

Beraad vereis konkrete aksieplan om die veiligheid van die landelike boerderygemeenskap te verseker | Summit needs concrete action plan to ensure safety of the rural farming community

English to follow:

27 Junie 2022

Die Landelike Veiligheidsberaad het vandag, 27 Junie 2022 by Woodlands Country Lodge, Parys in die Vrystaat begin. Terwyl die land steeds gewelddadige aanvalle in boerderygemeenskappe ondervind, het minister Bheki Cele die probleem van swak reaksietye deur die polisie en die eroderende effek van korrupsie binne die polisiediens erken. Alhoewel Agri SA die poging om korrupsie intern in die polisie te beveg, ondersteun, moet ons ook konkrete stappe sien om veiliger landelike gemeenskappe te vestig.

Ander kwessies wat die minister geopper het, sluit in die voortdurende rasseverdeling in sommige boerderygemeenskappe, die impak van onwettige migrante op die vermoë van wetstoepassers om hulle werk doeltreffend te doen, en die dringendheid om armoede in landelike gemeenskappe aan te spreek.

Agri SA het ‘n belang in die suksesvolle afsluiting van die beraad met die hoop dat die partye met ‘n konkrete aksieplan na vore sal kom om die gevare wat landelike gemeenskappe in die gesig staar aan te spreek. Hierdie gevare is nie beperk tot uiterste gebeure soos gewelddadige moorde en onrus nie, maar sluit ook die skadelike effek van misdaad en die gepaardgaande koste vir primêre landbou in.

Die veiligheid van die boeregemeenskap is ‘n voedselsekerheidskwessie. As sodanig is die kwesbaarheid van die landelike, boeregemeenskap ‘n saak van nasionale belang. Boere en plaaswerkers produseer die voedsel waarop Suid-Afrikaners staatmaak en dra by tot nasionale stabiliteit. Die Landelike Veiligheidsberaad moet lei tot konkrete stappe om die boeregemeenskap veiliger te maak.

“Dit is krities dat die beraad ooreenkom op dringende stappe wat geneem moet word om die effektiewe implementering van die Landelike Beveiligingstrategie af te skop en om die polisie te voorsien van die nodige hulpbronne om die landelike boerderygemeenskap behoorlik te kan dien en te beskerm. Dit is noodsaaklik, indien die polisie die vertroue van die landelike boerderygemeenskap wat hulle dien wil herwin. Ons kan nie die feit miskyk dat boere en plaaswerkers tydens plaasaanvalle en onluste geteiken word nie. Dit is kommerwekkend dat die polisie nie ten volle voorberei en toegerus is om die boerderygemeenskap in hul grootste nood te beskerm,” sê Uys van der Westhuijzen, voorsitter van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Landelike Veiligheid.

Agri SA ondersteun die Landelike Beveiligingstrategie en is bemoedig dat die beraad juis belê is om uitvoering daaraan te gee. Ons verwag dat die polisie van die geleentheid gebruik sal maak te bevestig hoe hulle daadwerklik sal begin om die strategie te implementeer. Géén nuwe strategieë of beleid word benodig nie. Agri SA is van mening dat die strategie ‘n toepaslike voertuig is om die misdadigheid wat die boerderygemeenskap raak aan te spreek mits dit behoorlik geïmplementeer en befonds word.

In sy voorlegging tydens die openingsessie van die beraad, het Agri SA sekere sleutel aspekte van die strategie uitgelig wat moet dien as vertrekpunt in die implementering daarvan. Dit sluit in:

  • Die meer effektiewe funksionering van die prioriteitskomiteestrukture.
  • Die reservistestelsel wat doeltreffend geïmplementeer word, met die fokus op goed opgeleide landelike reserviste en die deelname van boere en plaaswerkers. Agri SA het as vertrekpunt twee reserviste per boerevereniging aanbeveel.
  • Meer effektiewe misdaadondersoeke, aanhouding van verdagtes, en die opponering van borgtog deur die polisie.
  • Doeltreffende misdaadintelligensie en -ontleding, met inbegrip van die ontleding van georganiseerde misdaad en daarstelling van ‘n geïntegreerde, sentrale inligtingsentrum deur die polisie.
  • Groter sigbaarheid van die polisie en die implementering van blou-witlig-geleenthede in alle provinsies.
  • Die daarstelling van polisietaakspanne en snel reaksie-eenhede in brandpunt gebiede.

“Vertroue in die polisie kan slegs herstel word wanneer die boerderygemeenskap glo dat die polisie bereid is en in staat is om hulle te beskerm en om professionele misdaadondersoeke te onderneem; daarom moet daar klem gelê word op die eerste twee pilare van die strategie: bou doeltreffende menslike hulpbron- en fisiese kapasiteit en vermoë in die landelike gebied, en verbeter toegang tot polisiëring, ondersoekvermoë en dienslewering vir die boerderygemeenskap. Agri SA vertrou dat die landelike gebied geprioritiseer sal word met die plasing van nuwe aanstellings en reserviste, asook in die toekenning van hulpbronne. Hierdie maatreëls is fundamenteel indien ons behoorlike dienslewering vir landelike gemeenskappe wil verseker. Sonder dienslewering sal die omvattende samesprekings gedurende die beraad van geen waarde wees nie,” sê Van der Westhuijzen.

Navrae:

Kobus Visser

Direkteur: Agri SA Landelike Veiligheid & Provinsiale Sake

Uys van der Westhuijzen

Voorsitter van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Landelike Veiligheid

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The Rural Safety Summit began today, 27 June 2022 at Woodlands Country Lodge, Parys in the Free State. As the country continues to face violent attacks in farming communities, Minister Bheki Cele acknowledged the problem of poor response times by the police and the corrosive effect of corruption within the police service. While Agri SA commends the effort to fight corruption internally, we also need to see concrete steps toward building safer rural communities.

Other issues raised by the minister include the ongoing racial divisions in some farming communities, the impact of illegal migrants on the ability of law enforcement to do its works effectively, and the urgency of addressing poverty in rural communities.

Agri SA is invested in the successful conclusion of the summit with the hope that the parties will emerge with a concrete action plan to address the dangers that rural communities face. These dangers are not limited to extreme events such as violent murders and unrest, but also include the damaging effect of crime and the associated cost for primary agriculture.

The safety of the farming community is a food security issue. As such, the vulnerability of the rural, farming community is a matter of national importance. Farmers and farmworkers produce the food South Africans rely on and contribute to national stability. The Rural Safety Summit must lead to concrete steps to make the farming community safer. “It is critical that the summit agrees on the urgent steps to be taken to kickstart the effective implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy and to capacitate the police serving rural farming areas so they can adequately protect these communities. This is also crucial if the police are to regain the trust of the rural farming community they serve. We cannot overlook the fact that farmers and farmworkers are targeted in farm attacks as well as during rioting and unrest situations. The fact that the police are inadequately prepared and resourced to assist farming communities in their hour of greatest need is concerning in the extreme” says Uys van der Westhuijzen, the chairperson of the Centre of Excellence on Rural Safety at Agri SA.

Agri SA supports the Rural Safety Strategy and is encouraged that the summit has been convened to give effect to it. We expect the police to use the occasion of the summit to confirm how they will start to effectively implement the strategy. No new strategies or policies are needed. Agri SA is of the view that the strategy is an appropriate vehicle to deal with the crime issues affecting farming communities provided that it is properly implemented and resourced.

In its presentation during the opening session of the summit, Agri SA highlighted a few key aspects of the strategy that must be the starting point in implementing it. These include:

  • The more effective functioning of the priority committee structures.
  • An effectively implemented reservist system with a focus on well-resourced rural reservists with the participation of farmers and farmworkers. Agri SA recommended as a departure point two reservists per farmer association.
  • More effective criminal investigations, detention of suspects, and opposition of bail by the police.
  • Effective crime intelligence and crime analysis, including analysis of organised crime and the establishment of an integrated, central information center by the police.
  • Greater police visibility and the implementation of blue-white light events in all provinces.
  • Creation of police task teams and rapid response units in hotspot areas.

“Trust in the police will only be rebuilt when the farming community believes that the police are willing and able to help protect them and to conduct professional criminal investigations. To do this, there must be an emphasis on the first two pillars of the strategy: building effective human and physical capacity and capability in rural areas, and improving access to policing, investigative capacity, and service delivery for the farming community. Agri SA trust that rural areas will be prioritised in the placement of the new recruits and reservists, and in the allocation of resources. These measures are essential if we are to ensure proper service delivery for rural communities. Without delivery, the extensive engagement over the course of the summit will be of no value,” said van der Westhuijzen.

Enquiries:

Kobus Visser

Director: Agri SA Rural Safety & Provincial Affairs

Uys van der Westhuijzen

Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety