Farms are not special areas – minister

2013-01-31 11:10

Farms are not special and do not deserve to have more police focus than any other area in the country, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said.

“What I have refused to accede to is (the idea) that farms are special areas in our society,” he said today at a New Age breakfast briefing in Johannesburg. “No, they are not. They are part and parcel of the rural safety plan.”

Mthethwa said the rural safety plan dealt with crime and violence in the “totality” of rural areas.

“We are talking about the villages and general crime in the rural areas. Among those we also have farms.”

The minister said certain agricultural groups had been making farm murders political. “We have said to those who want to do nasty politicking on this matter that they must take a broader view and ensure that we talk about rural safety in totality.”

On January 15, lobby group AfriForum said Mthethwa’s silence on farm attacks bordered on collusion.

“The minister’s silence on the scourge of farm attacks is a disgrace,” AfriForum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets said in a statement. “If the minister is serious about the protection of South Africans, he would have declared farm attacks a priority crime years ago.”

Roets was reacting to reports of an elderly couple found dead on a farm near Parys in Free State.

Mthethwa also discussed the need for greater oversight for the police. “By their nature in society, police have more powers. They have powers to stop anybody and search anybody.

“If those powers are unchecked, the tendency would be that people may abuse such powers.”

It was important oversight bodies were put in place to police the police.

He said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate served this function.

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