OPINION

Why we will be going to Senekal – IRR

Institute to launch Community Safety Charter as a tool to help build common purpose among all South Africans

Why we will be going to Senekal – IRR

15 October 2020

Events in Senekal underline the need not just for honest, rational debate about key challenges facing South Africa, but practical solutions capable of uniting the reasonable majority of South Africans.

It is for this reason that the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) will be going to Senekal tomorrow to launch our Community Safety Charter as a tool that can help to build a common purpose among all South Africans.

Says IRR deputy head of policy research Hermann Pretorius: ‘As a country, we don't need violence, we don't need petty blame games, we don't need extremism, and we don't need further animosity to divide our communities. We need practical solutions. The Community Safety Charter provides such solutions and offers a realistic hope that we truly can #SaveRuralSA.’

He notes that events in Senekal following the horrific murder of Brendin Horner ‘present a confluence of several core concerns the IRR has long been a leading voice on: race relations, the rule of law, the failures of a government too powerful and too incompetent to secure the safety of South Africans, and the creeping degradation of property rights and the vilification of property owners, farmers in particular’.

‘There is an enormous need for the reasonable South African majority to be represented in the public debates on these issues. But now isn't just the time for honest, open, and reasonable discussions on issues that unite all decent South Africans – we also need practical solutions. That is why the IRR will be on the ground in Senekal tomorrow to launch our Community Safety Charter,’ says Pretorius.

Crime is destroying South African lives and communities. Rural communities are among those being abandoned by the government and left vulnerable to violent attacks that destroy families.

The IRR’s Community Safety Charter sets out a range of solutions geared to winning the fight against crime and farm attacks.

It proposes

1. Giving communities the power to elect station commanders;
2. Making all police and prosecutorial appointments on merit alone –no more positions for political cronies;
3. Holding independent investigations and public hearings into criminality within the police;
4. Hastening the process of applying for and being granted firearm licences for self-defence;
5. Using private sector expertise in policing;
6. Fast-tracking former police and army members as police reservists; and
7. Increasing staffing and resources for Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units, and appointing expert prosecutors.

It is possible to turn the tide in the fight for South African lives. The IRR urges South Africans to support these proposals, which will be taken to the President and the Minister of Police. Together, we can #SaveRuralSA. Endorse the IRR’s Community Safety Charter.
Issued by Hermann Pretorius, IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research, 15 October 2020