Another farm attack has occurred in the Addo Kirkwood area, again highlighting the need for urgent intervention by police in this provincial hotspot.
How much longer must the warning lights flash before action is taken?
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received information that last night (Monday, 02 November 2020) at about 19:15, a man was attacked on a farm by five or six individuals, who made off with firearms, including a shotgun and revolver.
I have been raising my concerns over the high rate of farm attacks in the Addo and Kirkwood area for several months now.
This attack is another warning flag of the increasing violent crime in rural communities in the Eastern Cape, and once again highlights the urgent need for SAPS to ramp up their efforts to improve rural safety and safeguard vulnerable communities.
The SAPS need to pull out all stops to apprehend these criminals, particularly as they have made off with firearms, which could be used to commit further violent crimes.
This latest attack is condemned in the strongest terms.
This weekend the DA resolved at its Federal Congress to ensure that farm attacks and farm murders are declared a hate crime and a priority crime category. The resolution further seeks to ensure harsher sentences if prosecutors prove that the motive for the crime was hatred or contempt based on the victim’s identity as a farmer or farm worker.
The DA believes that some of the additional steps that can be taken to improve rural security are:
- The introduction of specialized units dedicated to protecting rural communities;
- Increase the research and statistical information on these crimes and make it available on an electronic dashboard;
- Increase the investigative capacity of SAPS. This means the utilization of every available technology, such as drones, when tracking perpetrators;
- There should also be tax relief measures for those in rural areas, such as farmers, who have to pay for private security companies, as well as subsidies for farm patrollers, farm watchers, and companies providing security in rural communities;
- We also need to increase the crime intelligence capacity for rural areas, and
- Border security needs to be improved upon.
I also reiterate my call for a rural safety summit for the Eastern Cape, where key stakeholders can meet and come up with long term, workable solutions to address the issue of escalating violent crime in rural areas, including the attacks on farms.
Note to Editors: You can download a sound clip in English from Bobby Stevenson, MPL