The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) MECs for Agriculture and Community Safety (view here and here) regarding ongoing incidents of violence and killings in the rural area of eMangweni.
The purpose of the DA’s correspondence is to seek clarity from the provincial government on what it has done to intervene and to stop the loss of life and the disruption to the lives of the local farmers and community.
The DA is particularly concerned by reports that the incidents of violence and killings are allegedly not new – in fact they have been ongoing for a number of years. We strongly condemn any such violence and lawlessness. While the details and cause of the violence in the eMangweni area are not yet fully understood, the DA calls on provincial government, the local police as well as crime intelligence to put an end to what is not an isolated incident in this area.
Our rural and farming communities have seen a surge in violent crime and crimes in general during the last few months. If this continues it will have serious implications for us as a province. Food insecurity and poverty are exasperated when our farming and rural communities can no longer safely provide for our province and families respectively.
Our workers and farmers must be able to live and work in safety. The eMangweni community has apparently called on government to assist them with the safety issues that affect the whole community. Clearly this has not happened.
The DA has already put workable solutions to rural crime and violence right at the doorstep of the President and KZN’s Premier. All that they need to do is act and show the political will needed to make our rural and farming communities safer.
Some of the DA’s solutions include;
- The direct subsidizing of farm patrols, farm watches and other private security initiatives;
- The introduction of properly resourced rural safety units under a Provincial rural safety directorate;
- Wider use of technology such as license plate recognition and CCtv cameras and; and
- Declaring farm attacks/murders a hate crime
The DA in KZN urges South Africans to unite behind the issue of safer rural and farming communities. We cannot be divided along racial lines on an issue that touches us all – any loss or threat to life, Black or White, farmer or worker, must be taken seriously.
The complex nature of rural crimes should also not be used for political points scoring. A concerted effort is needed by government in partnership with local communities.