FF Plus thanks Cele for rural safety strategy

  Pieter Groenewald.  (Lulama Zenzile)
Pieter Groenewald. (Lulama Zenzile)
  • FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald thanked Police Minister Bheki Cele for the national rural safety strategy.
  • DA MP Andrew Whitfield called on the government to stop talking and take action.
  • ANC MP Kebby Maphatsoe and Cele said it seemed Whitfield was unaware of the rural safety strategy.

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald thanked Police Minister Bheki Cele for the police's national rural safety strategy, while the DA claimed the government is not doing anything about farm attacks.

The ANC was quick to point out the DA seemed unaware of the national rural safety strategy.

Cele presented the police's adjusted budget to a mini-plenary of the National Assembly in a virtual sitting on Friday.

DA MP Andrew Whitfield dedicated his whole speech in the debate to the matter of farm murders. While a matter the DA has previously expressed its concern about, the party has in recent weeks intensified a campaign around the issue.

"Farm attacks and murders must once again be treated as a priority and if the president won't lead perhaps our minister of police will do something. He seems to be calling the shots anyway," said Whitfield.

"Minister, it is time to reclassify farm attacks and murders as priority crimes so that the SAPS can, through a well-resourced and co-ordinated strategy, start to disrupt the criminal networks responsible for these heinous crimes and transition from reaction to prevention.

"We need a budget that will bolster our crime intelligence networks and strengthen the investigative capacity of the SAPS. This budget should be supporting more boots on the ground and drones in the sky in rural areas not policing curfews and harassing business owners."

He acknowledged Cele had expressed his concern about farm murders, and that national police commission General Khehla Sitole agreed to provide funding to support rural safety.

"But what we really need is less words and more urgent action to put an end to the brutal killings and attacks in our rural communities," said Whitfield.

Groenewald said his party had been calling for action on this matter since 1997, and he welcomed the police's national rural safety strategy.

"We are thankful that there is now movement on the side of the police in regards to this," he added.

ANC MP Kebby Maphatsoe said: "Honourable chair, I just want to remind honourable Whitfield that maybe he doesn't know about the rural safety strategy. That is why honourable Groenewald understands it better, because he [Whitfield] wasn't part of it."

He added the plan also focused on the murders of farm workers.

Cele said farm killings could not be separated from the safety of all South Africans.

"Maybe the honourable member, Mr Whitfield, doesn't understand, because it looks like it is new terrain he has just come about. We have been working with other political parties on this matter," he added. "Indeed, it is one of the serious ones."

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