Rural safety units would stop the attacks
Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
17 April 2018
The DA is alarmed by the six farm attacks which have occurred in the last 72 hours.
Attacks on anyone who lives on or visits a farm – have increased once again. The attacks are carefully planned, and without exception include violence, and frequently torture of the most horrific kinds. Even children are mercilessly targeted.
Farmers feed our nation and it is clear that the South African Police Service (SAPS) Rural Safety Strategy is a dismal failure. Police today rely heavily on private helicopters or fixed wings to get them to the site of the attacks. Yet the SAPS has a R86-billion budget.
The reason the much-vaunted Strategy has failed is because the Police Stations in the most hard hit rural areas, are under-staffed and under-resourced. The strategy needs to be overhauled.
Our farmers and farm workers do not deserve to live under siege.
In the 2016/17 financial year, South Africa experienced 52 murders per day. Of course this is totally unacceptable. It is a figure one might expect from a country at war.
The DA has long called for the reintroduction of specialised units within the SAPS as is the international best practice most likely to curb the rise of violent crime. This would include specific units to tackle rural safety.
The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must show decisive leadership and deal with the high crime rate, devising ways and means by which our most vulnerable members, such as women, children, and those living in deep rural areas, will be adequately protected.
The increased attacks on our farming communities continue unabated due to lack of leadership by the SAPS and the ANC government.
The DA calls on Cele to urgently prioritise the introduction of specialised units, including specifically a well-resourced and highly trained national rural safety unit, and we demand that he takes a strong line against the ongoing and criminal attacks on our farming communities. No one in South Africa should fear torture, rape and death.
Minister Cele must explain how SAPS members get simple warnings for rape and murder
Zakhele Mbhele, DA Shadow Minister of Police – 18 April 2018
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to request that he urgently summon the Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to explain how it is possible that South African Police Service (SAPS) members who have been found guilty of rape or murder merely receive written or verbal warnings or fines.
This astounding information has been revealed by a report of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) submitted to Parliament.
A total of 180 SAPS members were found guilty in disciplinary hearings by SAPS on various misconduct charges and the penalties awarded for serious charges such as murder and rape ranged from written and verbal warnings, fines and corrective counselling.
Police members who have been found guilty of rape or murder have no place in the SAPS and must be dismissed immediately.
This is absolutely shocking and is a direct indictment on Minister Cele and the entire ANC government for failing to professionalise the SAPS so that they can protect the most vulnerable in our society.
The South African public already fear for their lives on a daily basis. This report seems to indicate that we have as much to fear from the rotten apples acting with impunity in the law enforcement department that is supposed to keep us safe.
The report further revealed that in places such as Kwanyamazane, Watervalboven and Greylingstad in the Mpumalanga province, SAPS members only received final written warnings and a R500 fine complaints for murder. In Mhala, SAPS members received written warnings after being found guilty of rape.
As concerning is that fact that reports of torture by police to IPID has increased by 43% from the 2016/17 to 2017/18. This is indicative of the disdain with which some SAPS members view the lives and rights of those they are entrusted to protect.
This is entirely unacceptable and reiterates the DA’s call for a comprehensive overhaul of SAPS leadership. If we have as much to fear from the SAPS as we do from criminals, there is no hope of bringing down the already unacceptability high levels of violent crime in our country.
What is urgently needed is a professional and properly resourced police service whose only goal is to ensure safe streets and safe homes for all South Africans.
An effective and professional SAPS must be Minister Cele’s priority. If he is not up to the task, he must step aside for someone who will not allow for murderers and rapists to be entrusted with protecting the people of our country.