Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance has condemned the brutal murder of four people, including a nine-year-old girl and a 73-year-old man, on a farm outside Randfontein on Gauteng’s West Rand this week.

“The DA extends our condolences to the family and friends of the family on this senseless crime,” spokesman Marius Redelinghuys said on Saturday.

“This horrific incident again demonstrates the urgency to act on enhancing rural safety across the country, and in the north-western parts of Gauteng specifically,” he said.

Randfontein police station was identified as a rural-urban mix police station where the rural safety strategy was fully implemented. This showed in the commendable intensive and speedy efforts of the Randfontein police in investigating this incident. But it was clear that the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the police minister had to do more to protect South Africans living in rural parts of the country.

Redelinghuys said he would ask Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to establish specialised rural reaction units in the SAPS and to provide Parliament with timelines for the roll-out thereof.

“President Zuma in his state-of-the-nation address announced the re-establishment of the specialised anti-drug units in the police, and there is no reason that people in the rural areas of our country cannot receive the same urgent and specialist attention to ensure their safety.”

The DA’s policy on rural reaction units could be implemented immediately through the initial establishment of at least five rural reaction units of about 20 members each, he said.

These units should receive specialised training to play a pro-active role in rural safety and should be permanently deployed to clearly identified crime “hotspots” on a rotating basis.

The units should also, among other things, prevent crime by analysing crime intelligence provided by a rural crime intelligence centre, so that they were deployed to crime “hotspots” to stabilise the situation immediately and prevent further attacks.

Data estimates from the SA Institute for Race Relations showed that farming communities were disproportionately vulnerable to violent crimes and robberies.

“The police ministry needs to show that their stated priority of keeping people safe and making them feel safe extends to the vast majority of South African people who live in rural areas. This must be done urgently and decisively,” Redelinghuys said.

According to media reports, an elderly man, his son, his son’s fiancé, and her nine-year-old daughter were killed in a brutal attack at a Randfontein farm this week.

The attack was believed to have happened between Wednesday evening and the early hours of Thursday morning. The victims were allegedly beaten to death and had sustained blunt force trauma. No arrests had yet been made, police said.