Agri SA and TLU SA, in a joint statement issued today, said it was challenging to urge their members to remain calm and refrain from acting irresponsibly while farm attacks and crime against the farming community continue unabated.
The 53 murders recorded by these organisations this year, compared to 54 last year, are disturbing. This figure could still increase by the end of the year. There have already been 383 farm attacks this year, compared to 394 in 2018. This is indicative of the risk to which farmers and farmworkers are exposed every day.
After recent discussions, the security structures of both organisations indicated that they were in favour of the creation of a Rural Safety Coordinating Forum to promote cooperation and unity within the revised Rural Safety Strategy. The forum will also play a role in coordinating a uniform viewpoint and/or policy on rural safety and promote cooperation down to grassroots level. Since stock theft poses the greatest threat to stock farmers, the Stock Theft Prevention Forum will form part of the proposed Rural Safety Coordinating Forum.
The forthcoming festive season offers criminals an opportunity to attack unsuspecting people. For this reason, it is vital that the farming community be more alert and better prepared. Both organisations called on the police to strengthen their efforts to protect the farming community when they do their planning for the festive season, through heightening visible policing and by conducting crime prevention operations.
Adopting the following good habits during the festive season should be seriously considered:
Protective measures are never a guarantee that a farm attack or crime will not occur, but they could delay or foil an attack and create the opportunity to raise the alarm. We call on the farming community to be more alert and to step up their security and apply their basic security measures, such as home and hearth protection, strictly. Report all suspicious-looking people and activities to your nearest police station. It is essential to maintain excellent communication with the local police.