The Democratic Alliance welcomes the implementation of a rural safety plan in 162 of the police stations in the Eastern Cape. According to a reply to a legislature question I asked Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana, each station had appointed a rural safety coordinator.
The DA is committed to ensuring that the Eastern Cape becomes a safer province for all its citizens, particularly those who are isolated in rural communities.
While the implementation of a rural safety plan is a step in the right direction, the DA believes that the following additional measures need to be put in place.
- Establish a specialised rural safety unit within the SAPS;
- Deploy specialised rural reaction units to identify hotspots on a rotating basis;
- Improve rural crime intelligence gathering; and
- Create a SAPS rural intelligence centre that would improve the gathering and analysis of rural safety information and thus better inform crime prevention initiatives.
The implementation of a rural safety strategy will only be fully effective if the undermanning and under-resourcing of our rural stations are addressed. Essential resources should include quad bikes, motorbikes and mounted police patrols along with additional manpower and the right vehicles. Any plan must also embrace technology, such as the use of drones for monitoring and patrolling. The DA will ask follow-up questions and probe this matter further in my interaction with the SAPS and the community.
One cannot emphasise the point enough that the viability of our rural economy and food security, in particular, is undermined by crime.
Our rural communities deserve the right to live in freedom without fear and a more holistic approach to rural safety will achieve just that.
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