Agri SA has partnered with Fidelity ADT, a subsidiary of the Fidelity Services Group, to offer a range of services and products to its members and to the rural community, in an attempt to curb the unacceptably high number of farm attacks and related rural crime. 

According to Agri SA, farm attacks in 2017/2018 increased to concerning levels while reported stock theft cases also grew by 7,2 %. Seven out of 10 farming units experienced some form of crime and 37,2% of farmers experienced theft of infrastructure. 

A total overall agricultural crime-related cost of R7,7 billion shows that the farming community in South Africa repeatedly experiences various crimes. The seriousness of acts of violence against the farming community has prompted Agri SA to investigate ways of improving safety in farming communities.

“Farm safety is much bigger than a single organisation, a community or even structures of authority,” said Tommie Esterhuyse, chairperson of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence for Rural Safety. “The reality is that violent crime in our rural farming areas shocks the community and has a negative impact on food production, national stability and the economy of the country. Therefore, the safety of the farming community remains one of the challenges that farmers across South Africa must deal with.”

Tommie Esterhuyse, Omri van Zyl, Wahl Bartmann and Dan Kriek after the agreement was signed.

The partnership provides an opportunity for Fidelity ADT, leveraging off the vast support structure of the Fidelity Services Group, to bring a wealth of diversified experience and security knowledge to Agri SA and rural customers. Fidelity ADT can deliver a far more integrated and robust security and safety offering to farmers. These services are also available to other Agri SA members such as corporate members and cooperatives. 

“Providing affordable yet beneficial safety solutions for vulnerable farming and rural communities through Agri SA is critically important,” said Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group. “We will be able to offer a centralised information hub to predict and assist with crime investigations and arrests. We will also work closely with the various farm watches, local security companies and farmer associations to help upskill and empower them with valuable security insights around areas like citizen’s arrests, reporting suspicious behaviour, land grabbing, industrial unrest, stock theft, training in various safety aspects and the like. This is a very topical issue impacting farmers in the area,” Bartmann said. 

The partnership represents an opportunity for a single point of entry to agricultural businesses and local security companies for security products and services at more affordable and sustainable prices.  

Fidelity ADT will provide integrated systems – from intrusion systems, to RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging, a range of CCTV cameras, fire solutions, access control, monitoring services, control room facilities and guarding. 

“We believe that the partnership will go a long way in providing a safe and secure rural environment to support food security, social and economic development and to respond to the safety and security needs of rural communities. These are also the aims of the Rural Safety Strategy developed by the police with the help of Agri SA,” said Esterhuyse.  

The partnership came to effect on 1 February and is currently being rolled out to the provincial organisations of Agri SA, such as Agri Northern Cape and Free State Agriculture. – Press release