Po lice and Agri SA to co­op­er­ate on re­vised ru­ral safety plan

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Contents -

It is crit­i­cal that the South African Po­lice Ser­vice’s (SAPS) Ru­ral Safety Plan in­clude an im­ple­men­ta­tion plan as rec­om­mended by Agri SA’s pro­vin­cial struc­tures. This was ac­cord­ing to Dr Jane Buys, a safety and risk an­a­lyst at Free State Agri­cul­ture.

Buys was re­spond­ing to an an­nounce­ment by Agri SA that the re­cently re-eval­u­ated ru­ral safety strat­egy would be finalised and in­tro­duced jointly with the SAPS in 2019.

She said South Africa’s ex­ist­ing Ru­ral Safety Plan was pe­ri­od­i­cally re-eval­u­ated to ac­com­mo­date new chal­lenges and de­mands.

“The plan provides for in­put from all lev­els of so­ci­ety and this year, the Agri SA af­fil­i­ates, among oth­ers, re­quested that a spe­cific im­ple­men­ta­tion plan with ac­tion sched­ules and date­lines be in­cluded.” In the past, the Ru­ral Safety Plan mainly con­cen­trated on vi­o­lent crimes and stock theft. Fol­low­ing the pro­pos­als from Agri SA’s af­fil­i­ates, the plan would, in fu­ture, also in­clude crimes such as cable theft, poach­ing and cross-bor­der crimes.

In the Free State, for ex­am­ple, agri­cul­ture was se­verely af­fected by crime along the Le­sotho bor­der.

The main govern­ment bod­ies re­spon­si­ble for law and or­der on the bor­der, namely the South African De­fence Force, SAPS and the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries, were se­verely un­der­staffed.

“They find it ex­ceed­ingly dif­fi­cult to man­age crimes such as stock theft and il­le­gal graz­ing of vast num­bers of live­stock from our neigh­bour­ing coun­try,” said Buys. There were also in­di­ca­tions that spe­cial­ist units for mur­der and rob­bery, among oth­ers, would be re­in­stated.

Mean­while, Agri SA wel­comed the com­mit­ment of Gen­eral Khehla Si­tole, the Na­tional Com­mis­sioner of the SAPS, to im­proved ru­ral safety and co­op­er­a­tion with the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Si­tole at­tended Agri SA’s Ru­ral Safety Com­mit­tee’s re­cent meet­ing, where he dis­cussed the po­lice’s turn­around strat­egy, with ru­ral safety as one of its key focus ar­eas.

He also said that it was the ob­jec­tive of the SAPS to cre­ate a safer ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment by 2030, thereby ful­fill­ing its con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Tom­mie Ester­huyse, chair­per­son of Agri SA’s Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence for Ru­ral Safety, said Si­tole’s com­mit­ment to ru­ral safety cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity for open and hon­est con­ver­sa­tion with the SAPS. – An­nelie Cole­man

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