AGRI WESTERN CAPE has shown their support for a rural safety plan presented to them by the Western Cape Government in a meeting held on 6 June.
It was decided that new plans will be embarked upon in a consultative manner, with various players across the agricultural sector.
“The current lack of safety is first and foremost affecting our people, but also our economy,” the Western Cape premier, Alan Winde, said.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in this province is to create jobs and grow the economy but in order to do that, you need an ecosystem to support it.
“The number one hurdle we face is safety, we have to get that right.”
Winde said three ministers had to visit families who had lost loved ones to murder before the first cabinet meeting of this administration.
“People need to feel safe and we need to be doing more to make that a reality across the province, in both our rural and urban areas.
“Our urgent need is for a strong and professional police service, and an effective criminal justice system.
Winde promised that he would continue to raise matters with the police, pursue the inter-governmental dispute with the police minister Bheki Cele, and raise issues of crime and safety at all levels of government, wherever possible.
“People should not live in fear,” Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, said during the meeting.
“Farmers cannot farm if they and their employees are constantly having to look over their shoulders.”
At the meeting, the Western Cape Government committed to the following:
• The establishment of an inter-ministerial team. The heads of the Department of Agriculture and Department of Community Safety will establish the terms of reference by the end of the month and report back to the provincial cabinet;
• Invite representatives from organised agriculture, organized labour and the police to join the rural safety technical work team;
• Update the provincial rural safety plan, which was last reviewed eight years ago;
• Institute Watching Briefs for cases impacting rural safety which monitors the legal processes around specific cases after an arrest has been made;
• Refer matters to the Police Ombudsman;
• Engage with district municipalities regarding their safety plans with a view to funding projects that focus on innovation, partnerships and technology.
The Chief Executive Officer of Agri Western Cape, Jannie Strydom, welcomed the fact that the Western Cape Government had agreed to meet with them and that rural safety is being prioritised.
Meyer responded: “Agri Western Cape has indicated that they are happy with the steps we have taken thus far and support us in this regard. I look forward to developing partnerships with them and all stakeholders in this sector so that we can work together to solve these issues.”