The civil rights organisation AfriForum, the family farming network Saai and several other role-players in the agricultural sector met at AfriForum and Saai’s Rural Security Conference held in Centurion today and agreed to curb farm attacks and rural crime through a collaborative strategy.
AfriForum, Saai, TLU SA, AgriSA, Free State Agriculture, Agri NW, Mpumalanga Agriculture, the National Employers’ Organisation of South Africa (NEASA), Sinoville Fire Fighting Association (SBBV), Forum Sekuriteit, Sakeliga, the South African Special Forces Association (SASFA) and the Association for South African Military veterans, pledged to work more closely together to form a united front against rural crime.
“AfriForum is excited about the fact that all these organisations are willing to join hands and make a difference against the wave of farm attacks and increasing rural crime. The SAPS itself has already admitted that it cannot fulfil its mandate, and this is obvious when one looks at the chaotic state of crime in the country. It is now time for communities to safeguard themselves,” says Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s spokesperson for Community Safety.
According to Dr Theo de Jager, executive director of Saai, the different organisations, civil structures and agricultural unions have feet on the ground when it comes to rural security and the meeting in Centurion was convened to achieve greater cooperation and coordination.
“Some organisations have farm watches in remote areas or camera systems, radio networks, emergency centres or response units. Others post guards, patrol national roads or establish and manage private fire services. Ultimately, everyone is in the same industry and has one goal in mind – to secure communities where the government can no longer do it,” explains De Jager.
According to De Jager, the group of organisations that have gathered today is the most extensive practical working group yet and increased cooperation and integration of networks can now truly be done for the first time.
According to Bennie van Zyl, general manager of TLU SA, the solutions for security problems in our country are not only based in organisations, but in communities. “It therefore requires a community that has capacity to coordinate to find a solution. Cooperation is the answer, but always around the right principles,” says Van Zyl.
According to Nic Arnold, executive director of Forum Sekuriteit, there is a lot of room for cooperation between the private security sector and public organisations. “In order to establish safe communities, criminals must be apprehended, vulnerable individuals must be transformed into resilient individuals and communities’ protection capacity must be expanded,” says Arnold.
Get involved with your nearest AfriForum neighbourhood watch at www.afriforumbuurtwag.co.za.