A series of closed meetings on recent rural safety concerns have been held by Police Minister Bheki Cele, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz and top provincial police officers. File picture: REUTERS
Cape Town - National Police Minister Bheki Cele, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, and top provincial police officers have held a series of closed meetings on recent rural safety concerns.

While few fresh details have emerged, Bianca Capazorio, the spokesperson for the premier, confirmed there had been “two important meetings that have taken place around policing in the province over the past two days”.

“MEC for Community Safety Fritz, met with National Police Minister Cele yesterday (Tuesday) in a meeting that was a positive first step towards creating open dialogue with the national minister,” said Capazorio .

“During the meeting, Minister Cele reiterated that an additional 1000 police officers, of 5000 receiving training, will be deployed to the Western Cape,” adding, “MEC Fritz will be communicating further outcomes of the meeting over the next few days.”

The premier meanwhile met with the National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sithole yesterday morning, around issues pertaining to policing and resourcing issues.

Capazorio said, “At both meetings, the province put forward its vision for safety and we hope that these conversations will be taken seriously.”

Pressed for details about the meetings, Reneilwe Serero, spokesperson for Cele said yesterday that Tuesday’s meeting in the precincts of Parliament between Cele and Fritz, “was a closed one, and there’s nothing to report back on at this stage. I am also not at liberty to mention the agenda points of the meeting between the minister and the MEC”.

Tuesday’s meeting had originally been scheduled for today after the State of the Nation Address, but appears to have been pushed up the agenda by Winde, who said on Tuesday that the meeting was as a result of discussions he had with Cele on the sidelines of the three-day presidential cabinet lekgotla in Pretoria last week.

On his way to the lekgotla, the premier had said, “High on my agenda is to make the president and the Cabinet aware of how violent crime is impacting our communities in the province”.

At the weekend there were reports that police were searching for three men involved in a criminal attack on an elderly couple who were visiting a farm in Citrusdal on Saturday evening.

Speaking about rural safety plans farmer’s body, TLU SA assistant general manager Chris van Zyl said, “What is imperative is to regard the current violent threat against farm dwellers as well as other forms of crime (trespassing, illegal occupation, theft of produce, livestock, fuel, chemicals, tools, etc) as equally important.”

Meanwhile, Agri Western Cape reiterated its support for a rural safety plan presented to them by the Western Cape government in a meeting held earlier in June.

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Cape Argus