File photo: Shannon Dininny
File photo: Shannon Dininny

Farmers don’t trust police for protection

By Mpho Raborife Time of article published Sep 16, 2014

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Johannesburg - Farmers prefer using private security services because of their low level of trust in the SA Police Service, AgriSA said on Tuesday.

AgriSA rural safety committee chairman Kobus Breytenbach was speaking at the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) hearings in Johannesburg on farm murders.

He said crimes on farms were usually committed at night when families were relaxed or sleeping.

“Society should respect law and order.”

He said reliance on police for protection was at a low level.

“When the SA Police Service disappoints farmers they tend to go with private security firms. In some instances they respond quicker than the police,” Breytenbach said.

He said AgriSA had an open door policy with the police ministry at national and provincial level and did not encourage farmers to use private firms.

AgriSA believed government had made violence on farms a priority.

“We don't promote it (private security) as an organisation; that is the farming community's own decision to make.”

He said the problem was at the lower policing levels.

Service delivery, the response time and distance from the local police station were some of the factors affecting police response.

Breytenbach said rural police stations were also under-resourced and their vehicles were not well-maintained.

“Trust of the police is at a low level. This is a challenge the police minister also admitted.”

A member of the SAHRC's panel Dr Leon Wessels suggested a different kind of policing was needed, specifically for farm attacks.

“We need a special kind of policing. Maybe that is why farmers hire private (security).”

He said communication with private security was easier as they could be reached by cellphone and their patrols were co-ordinated, unlike those of the police who patrolled at unexpected hours.

The hearings are chaired by commissioner Danny Titus.

AfriForum earlier complained to the commission that police were not doing enough to protect farming communities.

According to AfriForum, 91 attacks on farms and 42 murders on farms had been reported since January.

AfriForum made various proposals, including:

* farm murders be dealt with as a priority crime;

* expert units for rural safety be created;

* government acknowledge farm attacks as a crisis;

* that there be transparency regarding statistics;

* a rural safety plan be adapted and implemented; and

* support be given to victims and that their human rights be addressed.

Sapa

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