Police Minister Bheki Cele, while answering Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Andrew Whitfield’s Parliamentary question regarding the classification of farm murders and attacks, said it cannot be classified as priority crimes.
HERE’S WHY FARM ATTACKS AND MURDERS ARE NOT CLASSIFIED AS PRIORITY CRIMES
Cele did, however, provide reasons. He said reference to farm attacks usually refer to incidents that are classified as aggravated robbery of a farm or dwellings of a farm and is often associated with violence perpetrated against the victims, which may range from common assault, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, rape and murder.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) reports on 17 crimes, which are reported by the community and four crimes, which are dependent on police action for detection, in its annual release of crime statistics. The most serious of these crimes are grouped into the category referred to as contact crimes and include, murder, attempted murder, sexual offences assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault and aggravated robbery.
“The crimes associated with farm attacks are, therefore, included in the most serious category of crime that the SAPS report on,” said Cele.
SAPS NATIONAL RURAL SAFETY STRATEGY
The SAPS National Rural Safety Strategy was adopted in response to the threat that crime in rural areas, including murders and attacks on farms, pose to the rural economy, agriculture, food security and the peace and stability of South Africa.
It recognises the need for a national response to address crime in rural areas and the need to work with stakeholders in and outside government in this regard.
“All serious and violent crimes are focus areas in the Reviewed National Rural Safety Strategy that was implemented on 1 March 2020. The implementation of the strategy will take place over a period of five years and will end on 31 March 2025,” said Cele.
All incidents in rural areas, including farms and smallholdings, are analysed weekly and provinces/police are tasked to address identified hotspots. Rural safety coordinators have also been appointed, to coordinate all activities within the rural policing area, to strengthen implementation of the National Rural Safety Strategy at police station level.
“Rural safety is a priority for the SAPS,” he added.
On Monday 21 September, Cele led a Ministerial Rural Safety Imbizo in Normandien, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Imbizo comes off the back of the Ministers first visit to the area on 2 September 2020, following the murder of two elderly farmers who were allegedly shot dead by unknown suspects in their farmhouse. Cele met with organised community, policing and farming structures who raised their concerns around safety in the area.
Minister Cele assured the community that he would return to the area to address some of their concerns through the National Rural Safety Strategy that is aimed at looking at a holistic approach to rural safety that includes collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society.
At the imbizo, he said; “we prioritise South Africans, we don’t look at the colour, we don’t look at what kind of South African if a South African is killed, we take that as a serious issue.”
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