MPs 'appreciate' police's rural safety response

Bikers ride to Parliament to protest against farm killings on Mandela Day.
Bikers ride to Parliament to protest against farm killings on Mandela Day.
Jacques Stander, Gallo Images
  • There were 49 murders on farms between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, two more than the year before.
  • According to national police commissioner Kehla Sitole, the police's rural safety strategy was working and it included involving the broader community.
  • This was welcomed by the ANC and opposition MPs.

The ANC, DA and FF Plus have welcomed the police's focus on rural safety.

This after Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole presented the crime statistics for 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 to the Portfolio Committee on Police on Friday morning.

In this period, there were 49 murders in 46 incidents on farms and smallholdings, two murders more than the previous year.

Of these, 12 were robberies at residential premises, four were attempted murders, one was malicious damage to property, one of kidnapping and one attempted robbery at residential premises.

A week after he lambasted the ANC government for not doing enough about murders on farms and smallholdings, DA MP Andrew Whitfield thanked the police for acting swiftly on the recent murders on a farm in the Northern Cape.

He said he hoped this would be the trend "to ensure that we clamp down quickly on these vicious crimes".

Responding, Sitole said this confirmed the police's rural safety plan was working.

ALSO READ | Police committee not impressed with crime statistics presented by Bheki Cele

"But we have also intensified the specialised units," he added, saying he had signed off on six specialised units.

"Then, we have dedicated investigations focused on the farm attacks. But from a rural point of view, we are also mobilising at the present moment the agricultural unions and the rural communities together, where we're also implanting sector policing as well as the neighbourhood watches, also extending the community input concept to the rural communities.

"We have also implemented traditional policing concepts to beef up the rural safety".

crime stats

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said he appreciated the approach outlined by Sitole, particularly the community involvement, as this was something he had long called for.

"If we all come together and see how can fight this crime, we will succeed".

Groenewald, however, wanted to know how many attacks there were on farms and smallholdings where there were no murders. These statistics are not recorded, and he suggested they should be.

ANC MP Princess Faku also expressed her appreciation for the report Sitole had provided on rural safety.

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