Agri SA supports the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) revised Rural Safety Strategy that was launched in Louis Trichardt recently. The strategy once again highlights the urgent need to curb crime in rural and farming areas. If the strategy is implemented with committed dedication by the police, it will be a great success.

“The urgent implementation of the strategy by all station commanders is necessary,” says Tommie Esterhuyse, chairperson of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety. “Otherwise the strategy will only be an excellent strategy sitting on the shelf gathering dust.”

Everyone is affected by crime

Rampant crime affects not only the farmer, but also farm workers and the rural community. These crimes pose a threat to the stability in rural farming areas and the country, and put food security at risk. The continued attacks on farmers and farm workers, high level of stock theft, and the levels of farm infrastructure destruction requires an effective strategy to deal with these issues.

Agri SA believes the Rural Safety Strategy is the most appropriate vehicle to deal with these crime issues. “However, it is concerning that the reservist system, which forms the backbone of the strategy, has not yet been fully implemented,” says Esterhuyse.

“We call on the police to actively promote the reservist system. They must also make it possible for farming and rural communities to participate and play a role in securing their environment. The police must commit themselves to make the necessary resources available to the reservists and the strategy.”

The best strategy to effectively fight crime

Agri SA has always had a constructive relationship with the police, especially concerning matters of safety and security. The organisation would like to congratulate the police on the development and finalisation of the strategy.

“We believe it is the only workable strategy with a focus on combating farm attacks, stock theft and farm infrastructure theft,” says Esterhuyse “The strategy will address organised crime incidents, stock theft and the theft of non-ferrous metals as well as cross-border crime. The establishment of rapid response teams to respond to rural crime incidents of a violent or organised nature is further welcomed.”

Agri SA will do everything in its power to co-operate with the police in implementing the strategy and thereby assisting farming communities to safeguard themselves. The Rural Safety Strategy can be found on the SAPS website or can be downloaded here. – Press release, Agri SA