Speaking about the recent spate of farm attacks and killings across the province, Jula said: “Since June 1, there have been 12 farm attacks in the province,” and that while “every crime is one too many”, the National Rural Safety Strategy was being re-evaluated to enhance capability, “especially in the Winelands and Worcester areas”.
Originally, the Rural Safety Strategy was approved for implementation between 2011 and 2015. In 2014, there were the SA Human Rights Commission hearings and recommendations to ensure safety, and in 2016 there was a proposal to host a rural safety summit/round-table conference, which was approved by the acting national commissioner.
Rural safety, including incidents of violence on farms and smallholdings, was prioritised by the then acting national commissioner of police. Asked whether there had been any arrests, the provincial commissioner said while he could not disclose too much about ongoing investigations, there had been arrests. “We are following up on who is responsible there,” he said.
The provincial commissioner was speaking at a ministerial stakeholder engagement at the Samora Machel Library which had been called by Police Minister Bheki Cele.
In a statement issued by his office, Premier Alan Winde said: “In May, 331 murders were recorded in the Western Cape, compared with 304 murders in May 2018. That is more than 10 murders a day in the province - lives cut short by senseless violence.”
The premier said the statistics were sourced from the forensic services unit in the Western Cape Department of Health and not from the official crime statistics, as these were only released by the SAPS once a year.
“Of the 331 lives lost to murder last month, 171 were shot and 116 killed by stabbing with a sharp object. A total of 271 of the murders were recorded in the metro, with the remaining 60 in the province’s rural areas. By comparison, in 2018, 107 people died by being stabbed with a sharp object and 150 were shot. A total of 246 of the murders were recorded in the metro, with 58 rural murders,” said Winde.
“People are being killed. Families are losing breadwinners and children. All of this while gangsters and other violent criminals go unpunished,” Winde said.
Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer has called for “the establishment of specialised police rural safety units, the creation of a rural intelligence centre and the engagement of the National Prosecuting Authority to prioritise serious cases of criminality.
MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz said he was working on “a conference with various municipalities to establish a network of safety for our rural communities”.@MwangiGithahu