A meeting of the provincial cabinet will today discuss the issues of rural safety and farm attacks, following a spate of attacks in the last few weeks. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Agri Western Cape on Thursday backed a rural safety plan presented to them at a meeting with Premier Alan Winde and Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Agri Western Cape chief executive Jannie Strydom said the organisation appreciated that rural safety was being prioritised.

“Investment and crime don’t go hand in hand and the agricultural sector welcomes MEC Meyer’s invitation to join the newly established rural technical safety committee.”

At the meeting, the provincial government committed to the establishment of an inter-ministerial team and said the heads of the Department of Agriculture and Community Safety would work together to establish the terms of reference by the end of the month. The team would then report back to the provincial cabinet.

Meyer said: “People should not live in fear. Farmers cannot farm if they and their employees are constantly having to look over their shoulders.”

The team is expected to invite representatives from organised agriculture, organised labour and the police to join the rural safety technical work stream; update the provincial rural safety plan (which was last reviewed eight years ago); institute watching briefs for cases impacting rural safety to monitor the legal processes around specific cases after an arrest has been made; refer matters to the police ombudsman; and engage with district municipalities regarding their safety plans with a view to funding projects that focus on innovation, partnerships and technology.

“The current lack of safety is first and foremost affecting our people, but also our economy. One of the biggest challenges we face in this province is to create jobs and grow the economy,” said premier Alan Winde.

“Our urgent need is for a strong and professional police service, and an effective criminal justice system. I will continue to raise matters with the police, pursue intergovernmental disputes with Police Minister Bheki Cele, and raise issues of crime and safety at all levels of government.”

@MwangiGithahu

[email protected]

Cape Argus