On Tuesday 13 October 2020, ministers from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster, including Police Minister Bheki Cele and Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodo, visited the community of Senekal in the Free State. According to the statement, the ministers visited the community to meet with the farming communities after a chaotic protest unfolded on 6 October 2020. It also met with the family of murdered farmer Brendon Horner.
The JCPS cluster said its mandate is to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe in their homes, places of work and businesses whilst they carry on with their lives.
“Law enforcement authorities are currently in the area to restore calm and order in the Free State community. Government reaffirms its position that the safety and security of all people in South Africa remains its key priority,” it said.
MINISTERS VISIT HOME OF FARM MANAGER IN SENEKAL
Ministers in the JCPS Cluster visited the home of murdered farm manager Brendon Horner in Senekal to offer their condolences and assure them that government is doing everything in its power to bring about justice for Horner.
Family Spokesperson Gilly Scheepers said “We really appreciate the visit and we really hope it will bring a turning point in the tension in this area. It is unfortunate but maybe the loss of a young man’s life will bring peace and stability in the farming community in South Africa”.
“Government would like to take this opportunity to extend its condolences to families, friends, colleagues and neighbours of all farmers and workers who have been attacked or killed. Ministers have commended the communities and the police for their swift response in arresting and bringing to justice the perpetrators of these criminal acts,” the ministers said in a statement.
COURT APPEARANCE OF MURDER SUSPECTS
The suspects in the murder case of Brendon Horner are set to appear in court on 16 October 2020. Based on that, government is appealing to members of the Senekal community to remain calm and avoid breaking the law or taking the law into their own hands. This obviously follows on from the protest which took place from the suspects’ last court appearance.
“Law enforcement agencies will be on the ground to ensure that everyone attending the proceedings are and feel safe,” the statement further added.
PRIORITISED RURAL SAFETY
The ministers said government takes rural safety seriously which is demonstrated through the recent establishment of the national and local Joint Rural Safety Command Centers agreed to between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the farming sector.
“Government appeals to the community to be calm during this period and to allow the law enforcement agencies an opportunity to do their job. By acting within the law, citizens can make our communities safer and more secure. Irrespective of how angry or unhappy any person or community is, the law cannot be taken into one’s own hands,” the cluster said.
“Farmers and farmworkers are the backbone of our economy and nothing can justify the criminal activity associated with these attacks and killings. These senseless killing of farmers and their workers affects all South Africans and threaten food security, employment, economic growth and job creation,” it added.
The cluster said criminals often take advantage of the farming community because of their isolation and none-proximity to other communities.
“Government is fast-tracking the implementation of the revised Rural Safety Strategy to respond to the security needs of rural communities as well as support social and economic development. Government will continue to use the District Development Model to ensure that critical infrastructure development in the country benefits rural areas,” the cluster added.
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