The latest, alarming statistics on farm attacks in the Eastern Cape show that our rural communities are continually under siege and the brutal assault on the farming community continues to rise.
In the 2016/17 financial there were 26 farm attacks. Over the last three years there have been 113 attacks. There has been an 84% increase between 2016/17 compared to 2018/19
In response to a parliamentary question, MEC for Safety, Weziwe Tikana, said that farm attacks in the province had increased from 39 in 2017/18 financial year, to 48 in the 2018/19 financial year. A further nine attacks have been registered since April to mid-July 2019.
An attack on the farming community is an attack on the province’s food security and jobs. Over and above this it is an attack on the psychological well being of rural communities, who are forced to live in fear through the lack of effective policing.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to stand up for the plight of our rural communities. Your lives and the rural economy have to receive greater priority!
The DA believes we need a new approach to rural safety and security.
SAPS need to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, and start incorporating new technologies, such as drones, which can be used to remotely patrol our vast rural areas. These drones need to have thermal imaging capacity and night-time vision. An extensive network of CCTV number plate recognition cameras needs to be established so that our rural communities are alerted if unknown vehicles enter the area.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to call for a separate specialized unit of the SAPS, namely a National Rural Safety Unit, along with provincial rural intelligence centres and rapid response units.
This is desperately needed so that we can stem the rural crime wave. This is evidenced by the recent attacks by armed robbery syndicates targeting small rural towns, such as those operating in Elliotdale and Mqanduli.
In KwaMlaza village in the Port St Johns Municipality, for example, violent crime has led to villagers fleeing their homes after nine people, eight of them women, have been hacked to death or raped and then killed in the past five years, with not one successful prosecution.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to use its position in the provincial legislature and national parliament to call for a revamped rural safety strategy to safeguard the lives of our rural communities and our rural economy.