A 62-year-old wine farmer whose property was at the centre of a land-grab conflict that made international headlines was shot and killed in front of his wife by four armed suspects on Sunday evening.
Daniel Johnson, Spokesperson to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, Ministry of Agriculture, Western Cape Government – 3 June 2019
Following the recent killing of famer, Stefan Smit on the Louiesenhof Wine Estate at Stellenbosch yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Adv. Albert Fritz and the Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality, Adv. Gesie Deventer and other role-players such as Agri Western Cape, the Stellenbosch Landbou Genootskap and the Deveon Valley Farmer’s Association met today.
“An attack on a farmer or an agri worker is an attack on our rural economy and we must put a stop to this. We must defend our rural economy against crime and lawlessness”: says Meyer.
Calling for the establishment of specialised SAPS rural safety units, the creation of a rural intelligence centre and engaging the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prioritize serious cases of criminality. The following was resolved:
- A meeting will be convened by the Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde on this coming Thursday with the executive of Agri Western Cape.
Minister Fritz will meet with Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Gen. Jula at 5 o’clock this afternoon.
Rural safety will be placed at the top of the agenda of all future Provincial Joints Safety Meetings which will also be attended by Ministers Meyer and Fritz.
A meeting will be set up with Adv. Rodney de Kock, Western Cape Head of the NPA.
The Western Cape Government will work with other role players to petition against bail for those arrested for killings within the farming community.
The Rural Safety Priority Inter Ministerial Committee to be established by July 2019.
The introduction of provincial watching briefs for rural/ farm killing to be introduced with immediate effect.
Ministers Meyer and Fritz as well as the mayor expressed their deep concern for the recent increase in farm killings in the Western Cape.
The Ministers stressed further that these attacks threaten the Western Cape agricultural sector.
Minister Meyer. “My most sincere condolences to the farming community. We have to make sure that this stops immediately. According to Minister Meyer, “Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is 3,9% of the Provincial GDP and agri processing a further 6,4%. Combined it amounts to 10,3% of Provincial GDP. Approximately 45% of South Africa’s agricultural exports also originate from the Western Cape.
Echoing his colleague, Minister Fritz said: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the Smit family on their loss. We cannot tolerate attacks on our farmers, agri workers and communities. Our farms are the breadbaskets and provide livelihood to the many surrounding it.”
“As a society we need to change the narrative on safety at the macro level to ensure community buy-in. We cannot rely on SAPS and government alone. I will further be arranging a conference with various municipalities to establish a network of safety for our rural communities.
Mayor van Deventer expressed her condolences and thanked the Ministers for convening today’s meeting at such short notice. She further requested that any person with any information regarding these attacks should contact the Stellenbosch SAPS at 021 809 9140/2.
— Ian Cameron (@IanCameron23) June 3, 2019