Following the increase of recent murders and attacks, and of incidents that have taken place in farming and rural areas in KZN and across South Africa, CEO of the KZN Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque, has issued a statement of demand calling for the National Rural Safety Strategy (NRSS) to be implemented as a matter of urgency.
La Marque called upon all stakeholders to prioritise farm and rural incidents which have reached unacceptable levels in recent months.
“We need to be very clear, Kwanalu representing our members across KZN, calls for law and order, and for the safety and security of our farmers and those living in rural areas, to be made a priority right now. The prevention of crime, arrest of criminals and the sentencing of offenders is not the responsibility of farmers,” said La Marque.
“We have the National Rural Safety and Security Strategy in place and are demanding that this be interpreted into a workable and sustainable solution without fear or favour, and with a matter of utmost urgency,” she said.
In September, Kwanalu, handed over a Safety and Security Memorandum to the SAPS in a safety and security webinar. The Memorandum outlined the commitment by Kwanalu, together with rural and farming communities of KZN, to the revised NRSS within which the rural and farming communities of KZN and the police are key role players.
“Food security, employment, economic activities and the morale of farmers are severely impacted by the surge in criminal behaviour in rural areas following the lockdowns,” said La Marque.
She also called on farmers, and leaders in rural communities, to engage with the relevant local safety and security structures in their areas, and to hold these stakeholders accountable for the carrying out of their duties and responsibilities in order to maximize the safety of all people living in rural areas.
“We are calling for stronger action, more manpower and more resources to be allocated to prioritizing the safety of our members and of citizens living in rural areas. We stand in solidarity with our members and clearly state our position on safety and security in farming and rural areas relating to the National Rural Safety Strategy, the foundation upon which our sector stands when it comes to safety and security, and we now demand urgent and immediate attention and action,” said La Marque.