The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal will be calling for an urgent debate on rural safety and the impact of crime on farmers, farm workers and rural communities following a spate of brutal farm attacks in the province during the past few days.
The DA is deeply disturbed by the latest two incidents which took place in the Glendale area near Kranskloof and in KwaDukuza on the province’s North Coast. We extend our sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous crimes. These heartless and inhumane acts must be met with the harshest response from law enforcement.
The DA in KZN has repeatedly called on Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, to take rural safety more seriously. Our farm workers, farmers and rural communities are under attack while the South African Police Service (SAPS) remains unable to ensure their safety or, in many instances, apprehend perpetrators.
To date, the MEC has failed to take our calls seriously, going so far as to dismiss rural safety as an issue that she is not responsible for. This apparent lack of interest in the safety – and ultimately the livelihoods of so many – smacks of the well-documented lack of accountability and willingness to bring about change that the MEC and the ANC have come to represent.
While not to downplay other crime, farm attacks generally have a distinctly brutal and violent nature, often involving torture, rape and murder. They must be taken seriously and not merely dismissed as another statistic in South Africa’s crime pandemic.
Last year the DA launched a national Rural Safety Plan which will also form part of the R1billion safety efforts in the Western Cape where we govern. This plan includes:
- Calls for government to subsidise rural safety initiatives such as farm watches and farm patrols;
- The introduction and subsidisation of a citizen band radio network;
- The establishment of a rural safety directorate within SAPS and;
- The introduction of crime fighting technology in rural areas including drones and licence plate recognition cameras
KwaZulu-Natal’s rural inhabitants can no longer live at the mercy of criminals. The DA in KwaZulu-Natal will continue to fight for the safety of rural citizens in our province – even if we remain a lone voice.