Cele urged to act immediately on rural crime after 6 farm attacks take place in 72 hours

Cele urged to act immediately on rural crime after 6 farm attacks take place in 72 hours

- The DA has called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to take urgently prioritise rural safety units after 6 farm attacks occur in 72 hours

- The attacks took place in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape

- AfriForum has called on farmers to take proactive measures within the scope of the law to protect themselves, their families, workers and property

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) and AfriForum have called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to urgently prioritise the reintroduction of specialised rural safety units to combat rural crime. This comes after a bloody 72 hours during which six farm attacks took place.

The recent spate of farm attacks took place across the country. One woman was murdered in Still Bay, Western Cape, a farmer shot dead near King William’s Town, Eastern Cape; a victim was beaten in Gauteng, a security guard stabbed on a farm in Limpopo; and an attack on an elderly man in Addo, Eastern Cape.

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The DA’s shadow deputy minister of police, Diane Kohler Barnard, said the DA was concerned by the recent spike in farm attacks. She said these attacks are oftentimes planned and coordinated and the victims were often tortured.

Briefly.co.za gathered that the DA believes the SAPS Rural Safety Strategy is an abject failure. The DA said police stations in the most rural and hardest-hit locations were often under-staffed and under-resourced.

Kohler Barnard said farmers, farm-workers and their families did not deserve to live under siege.

She said in general South Africa’s murder rate was incredibly high, during 2016/17 the country experienced an average of 52 murders per day. Kohler Barnard said the figure is one which might be found in a country at war.

Kohler Barnard said: “The DA calls on Cele to urgently prioritise the introduction of specialised units, including specifically a well-resourced and highly trained national rural safety unit, and we demand that he takes a strong line against the ongoing and criminal attacks on our farming communities.”

Meanwhile, civil rights group, Afriforum called on rural communities to fight for themselves.

Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety said: “There is enough room in the law for people to take action themselves and not only respond reactively to these senseless acts of violence, but also act in a proactive manner to end the terror of farm attackers.”

AfriForum says it has repeatedly requested meetings with Cele to discuss violence on farms and the land grab crisis, but has thus far these requests have gone unanswered.

Cameron said rural communities could no longer sit back and do nothing and needed to take every single lawful precaution to keep themselves safe.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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