Rural safety enjoys high-level attention – Agri SA

Organisation meets with police delegation and other representatives to discuss rural safety

Rural safety enjoys high-level attention

14 March 2017

Agri SA’s Rural Safety Committee yesterday met with a high-level police delegation and other representatives of the country’s security forces for in-depth discussions and planning regarding various rural safety aspects that threaten the security of the farming community.  “We appreciate the police’s involvement and the seriousness with which they regard the agricultural community’s safety”, said Agri SA President, Johannes Möller.

The unacceptable situation regarding farm attacks and murders, which have serious consequence for the farming community, received specific attention. The committee warned that farm attack and murder statistics should be used cautiously so as to not stir up emotions unnecessarily.   “The incorrect use of statistics leads to restlessness within the agricultural community.  An analysis of recent farm murder statistics reported in the media shows that some of these murders, according to definition of a farm attack, are not farm murders.  The incidence of recent farm murder speaks volumes about the sustained criminal onslaught on farmers, farm workers and their families, which is clearly not conducive for food security in South Africa and the stability of rural areas”, said Möller. 

Utterances from various sides regarding land invasions, which had also been reported in the media over the weekend were strongly condemned by the committee and received high priority during the meeting.  According to Möller, Agri SA firmly rejects all statements relating to the occupation of agricultural land and allegations that farmers had acquired their land unlawfully and that this justifies illegal occupation of farms and land grabs.  Contingency plans to counter such actions were discussed yesterday and provincial organisations were asked to implement these at local level. 

The committee has confirmed that Agri SA’s information document on how to deal with land invasions, which has been improved over the years, the implementation of its protocol for farm access and ongoing liaison with the police were aspects to be address at local level.  Existing police policy and procurers for dealing with trespassing and land invasions complaints were reaffirmed and the police were urged to sensitised local police station regarding the implantation thereof on local level. 

In closing, Möller said, the Agri Securitas Trust Fund has been established to make supplementary contributions to farmer associations to assist communities to improve their own safety.  Various rural safety projects have been financed by the Trust Fund, which in turn contributes towards safeguarding the farming community.  Agri SA’s provincial organisations play an important role in evaluating such requests and enquiries concerning funding requests can be directed to these organisations. 

Issued by Thea Liebenberg, Media Liaison Officer, Agri SA, 14 March 2017