Organised crime syndicates threaten food security – Carin Visser

DA MP says farmers have suffered financial losses due to theft of more than R5m in 20 cases reported to the SAPS

Organised crime syndicates terrorising North West farmers threaten food security

30 January 2024

The DA in North West is alarmed by the increased activity of organised crime syndicates targeting farms and commercial food producers in Sannieshof, Ottosdal, Lichtenburg, Biesiesvlei, Setlagole, Delareyville, Koster, Coligny and Itsoseng areas over the last two months.

Farmers have suffered financial losses due to theft of more than R5 million in 20 cases reported to the SAPS to date across the North West.

From the information available to us, it appears that these crimes are well planned to facilitate the theft of large volumes of grain seeds, fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and diesel. Indications are that the organised crime syndicates are currently operating across provincial borders.

To date, the SAPS has failed to make any arrests despite prima facie evidence and information made available to the police by victims identifying key individuals. It seems that police investigations are being compromised to protect syndicate members.

The DA submitted 20 case numbers to the North West Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen SJ Kwena, requesting a specialised investigation into these cases, and requesting an update on the reasons for the delays in affecting arrests, especially where the identities of perpetrators are known.

We will also submit written questions to the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, on the following:

- The total number of cases opened regarding the theft of agricultural products in North West over the last 5 years;
- The number of cases referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions; and
- The number of cases still under investigation.

The ANC-led government cannot continue to ignore the obvious reality that farmers, food producers and rural communities in South Africa are being targeted by organised crime syndicates.

These crime syndicates are exploiting the fact that rural policing remains under-resourced to effectively prevent crime, and to serve and protect residents and their properties.

Citizens have a choice in this year's national elections to vote out the uncaring ANC and vote in a DA government that will prioritise the needs and safety of residents in the same manner with which our government in the Western Cape is fighting crime through our LEAP-programme.

A vote for the DA is a vote for safer communities.

Issued by Carin Visser, NCOP, North West, 30 January 2024