The DA has welcomed the implementation of a rural safety plan in 162 of the police stations in the Eastern Cape.
This follows various farm attacks and killings in villages in the rural areas of the province over the past few weeks.
DA MPL Bobby Stevenson confirmed in a statement this week that Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana, responding to questions from the party, had indicated that each station had appointed a rural safety coordinator.
While the implementation of a rural safety plan is a step in the right direction, the DA believed that the following additional measures need to be put in place:
- Establish a specialised rural safety unit within the SAPS;
- Deploy specialised rural reaction units to identify hotspots on a rotating basis;
- Improve rural crime intelligence gathering; and
- Create a SAPS rural intelligence centre that would improve the gathering and analysis of rural safety information and thus better inform crime prevention initiatives.
“The implementation of a rural safety strategy will only be fully effective if the undermanning and under-resourcing of our rural stations are addressed. Essential resources should include quad bikes, motorbikes and mounted police patrols along with additional manpower and the right vehicles. Any plan must also embrace technology, such as the use of drones for monitoring and patrolling.
One cannot emphasise the point enough that the viability of our rural economy and food security, in particular, is undermined by crime.”
He said the rural communities deserved the right to live in freedom without fear.