Rural Safety Plan: DA to grill SAPS leadership – DA KZN

Christopher Pappas says crime in rural areas has seen an increase in recent months

DA to grill SAPS leadership over failure to ensure the safety of farming and rural communities

30 June 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is preparing to grill the leadership of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the MEC for Community Safety, Bheki Ntuli, over their failure to implement the National Rural Safety Plan.

This follows a request from the DA to the Chairperson of the Agriculture and Rural Development Portfolio Committee in KwaZulu-Natal for SAPS and the MEC to appear before the committee on Friday 3 July.

Government's Rural Safety Plan was adopted for implementation in 2011 and revised in 2019. If properly implemented, the plan would have seen considerable resources, manpower and leadership deployed to rural and urban-rural mixed police stations. The DA believes that the leadership of SAPS and the political leadership responsible for the safety of citizens have failed.

Crime in rural areas has seen an increase in recent months, including reports of increases in stock theft and general theft. The ANC Covid-19 lockdown economic crisis has made matters worse by driving people out of employment and further into desperation and poverty. Of greatest concern is the number of farm attacks and murders in KwaZulu-Natal. These crimes are often characterised by brutal torture, rape and death. The DA's own survey/research conducted at the beginning of the lockdown indicated rising crime trends and growing anxiety amongst farmers.

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has submitted a list of questions for SAPS and the MEC via the committee chairperson. These questions aim to ascertain the extent to which the Rural Safety Plan has been implemented, and to hold those who have failed to implement the plan accountable. Some of these questions include:

Is the SAPS Rural Safety Priority Unit reporting to the MEC and what actions are the MEC and/or SAPS taking in this regard?

Covid-19 has seen an increase in farm attacks, threatening food security in KZN. What are the practical steps the MEC and/or SAPS will be recommending to the KZN Cabinet to curb farm attacks and to protect food security in KZN?

Would the MEC and/or SAPS partner with farming communities to roll out innovative solutions to deep rural areas in KZN to protect our farmers and rural communities?

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal will continue to fight for the safety of farming and rural communities by using every opportunity available to highlight this scourge. Friday’s Agriculture and Rural Development Portfolio Committee meeting is just one of these.

The DA's Rural Safety Strategy is a workable plan that is aimed at addressing this growing violent and overlooked cancer that is eating at the heart of our country’s major contributors to employment and food security.

Issued by Christopher Pappas,DA KZN Spokesperson Agriculture and Rural Development, 30 June 2020