The frightening 50% increase in Eastern Cape farm attacks in the 2017/2018 financial year compared with the 2016/2017 financial year, highlights the vulnerability of our rural communities as well as the urgent need for innovative law enforcement strategies to safe guard the rural heart lands of our province. Same old same old is not working!
In the 2016/2017 financial year there were 26 farm attacks, and in the 2017/2018 financial year there were 39 attacks. This information was provided to me in questions for oral reply in the Provincial Legislature yesterday, 18 April 2018.
The Democratic Alliance believes that we need a separate specialised unit of the SAPS, namely a National Rural Safety Unit, along with provincial rural intelligence centers and rapid response units.
We believe that the introduction of a specialised safety unit would greatly assist in improving the security in our rural areas.
The policing in our rural areas is understaffed and under resourced.
The SAPS needs to be better resourced in terms of helicopters as well as the appropriate vehicles such as 4×4’s and quadbikes. Modern technology such as drones can assist with patrolling vast areas efficiently and the safeguarding of our rural communities. Crime intelligence needs to be improved as well.
A key aspect of farm attacks that needs to be fully investigated is the theft of fire arms as this appears to be a key motive. I will be asking follow up questions in the Legislature with regard to the recovery rate and the extent to which these stolen firearms are used in other crimes.
The Democratic Alliance also welcomes the emphasis by the Department of Safety and Liaison in Bhisho, who will closely monitor 80 rural SAPS stations this coming year, as to the effectiveness of the rural safety strategy.
We will interrogate these reports in our fight to improve rural safety.
Our rural communities are critical for food security and their safety needs to be better prioritized so that our rural economies can flourish.
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