Agri Western Cape welcomes government plans for rural safety

6 June 2019

Agri Western Cape supports a rural safety plan presented to our rural safety policy committee by the Western Cape Government in a meeting on Thursday 6 June.

New plans will be embarked upon in a consultative manner, with various players across the agricultural sector.

“Agri Western Cape appreciates that the Western Cape Government had agreed to meet with us as organised agriculture is a critical role player in the agri sector. Investment and crime don’t go hand in hand and the agricultural sector welcomes Minister Meyer’s invitation to join the newly established rural safety technical committee. We believe this is a huge step forward to create a safer and more enabling environment for farmers and farm workers to carry on with food production in a safe environment,” Mr Jannie Strydom, Agri Western Cape CEO, said.

Premier Winde said: “The current lack of safety is first and foremost affecting our people, but also our economy. 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.”

“Before we even had the first cabinet meeting of this administration, three of our ministers had to go and visit families who had lost loved ones to murder. 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.”

Minister Meyer said: “People should not live in fear. Farmers cannot farm if they and their employees are constantly having to look over their shoulders.”

The Western Cape Government committed to:

-The establishment of an inter-ministerial team. The heads of department of Agriculture and Community Safety have been advised to work together to establish the terms of reference by the end of the month. The team will report back to the provincial cabinet.

-Invite representatives from organized agriculture, organized labour and the police to join the rural safety technical work stream.

-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.

Minister Meyer said: “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.”

Premier Winde said: “We are doing our best to make this province safe. Our urgent need however is for a strong and professional police service, and an effective criminal justice system. I will 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.”

Mr Hugo de Waal (Agri Western Cape Vice President, Minister Ivan Meyer, Mr Alan Winde, Mr Cornie Swart (Agri Western Cape President, Mr Jannie Strydom (Agri Western Cape CEO).