Rural Safety: DA requests meeting with Police Commissioner

This morning I learned with great dismay about the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Stefan Smit, a wine farmer from the Louisenhof wine estate in Stellenbosch.

This is the second farm murder in less than a month in the Western Cape and follows short on the heels of the murder of former DA councillor, Annette Kennealy as well as other brutal attacks in Limpopo and elsewhere over the past few weeks.

These attacks and murders are untenable and it is clear that the DA’s long-standing appeal for the integration of rural safety units falls on deaf ears.

Therefore, the DA will today make a request to the South African Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, to urgently meet with him on the attack on our rural communities.

The DA has a clear rural safety plan and we work tirelessly to highlight issues related to rural safety that we will present to General Sitole.

It has also come to our attention that certain groups and organisations are actively inciting violence in rural areas. We will bring this to the general’s attention and request his urgent intervention.

We have already begun to urge in 2007 that farm murders are represented as separate statistics. Our safety plan, as contained in our manifesto, includes establishing specialised rural safety units consisting of specially trained members of the SAPS.

Shortly before the election, President Cyril Ramaphosa, met with wine farmers at Stellenbosch and made all kinds of election promises, including on rural safety.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that these are just empty promises and that the president and the ANC have no serious intentions to bring about rural safety and security in South Africa.

The murder of Mr Smit and other farmers, their families and farm workers is tragic and untenable. The DA will be diligent in our fight against rural violence and request the police commissioner to intervene urgently.

The DA extends its heartfelt sympathy and sincere condolences to Mr Smit’s family and friend