The latest farm murder in South Africa in which four people were killed raised outrage in the country, prompting renewed calls on the police to do more to protect South Africans living in rural areas.
“This horrific incident again demonstrates the urgency to act on enhancing rural safety across the country, and in the north-western parts of Gauteng (Province) specifically,” said Marius Redelinghuys, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party Shadow Deputy Minister of Police.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko must do more to protect South Africans living in the rural parts of the country, Redelinghuys said.
He said he will write to Nhleko to request that specialised Rural Reaction Units be established in the SAPS, and that the minister provides Parliament with timelines for the roll out thereof.
In his State of the Nation Address last month, President Jacob Zuma announced the reestablishment of the specialised anti-drug units in the police.
“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,” Redelinghuys said.
These units should receive specialised training to play a pro-active role in rural safety and must be permanently deployed to clearly-identified crime “hotspots” on a rotating basis, he said.
They should also be trained to carry out undercover operations, road blocks, observation posts, search and seizure operations, and rapid response capability to allow for the swift apprehension of suspected criminals, said Redelinghuys.
The latest deaths brought the number of people killed on South African farms this year to 15, according to civil rights organization AfriForum said.
It said there has been “a sudden increase” in farm attacks in the country, with 63 reported cases so far this year.
The organization also accused police of being slow in responding to farm murders.
In South Africa, which has a high crime rate, farmers run a significantly higher risk to be murdered compared to the general public and the police.
Although farm attacks occur globally, farm attacks on South African soil are estimated to be 700 percent higher than in any other country in the world, according to the South African Solidarity Research Institute (SRI).
In addition, the chances of a farmer being murdered on a farm in South Africa are anything between four to six times higher than the average murder risk rate for the general population, the institute said.
The government has rejected repeated calls to declare growing farm attacks “a crime of priority.” Enditem