Farming community’s safety is a priority during festive season

“The high crime levels, particularly farm attacks which recently flared up again, have had a devastating impact on various farming operations. For this reason, Agri SA urges the police to prioritise the security of the farming community when implementing their National Safer Festive Season Operation, as recently announced by the Minister of Police,” said Uys van der Westhuijzen, Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety.

Agri SA welcomes the National Commissioner of Police’s announcement that the Rural Safety Strategy would be applied during this time to deal with stock theft and attacks on the farming community. The police’s focus on visible policing and crime prevention operations during the festive period could contribute towards crime reduction. In order to send a clear message to criminals that crime would not be tolerated in these communities , it is important that the operation also be conducted visibly in rural areas.

Farmers suffer enormous losses due to an increase in product and input theft and looting on farms. High-risk crimes such as illegal hunting with dogs, especially in organised groups, pose a further threat to the safety of the farming community. These criminals will not hesitate to use violence if confronted. This also poses a threat to wildlife that are poached in this manner and exposed to serious trauma.

The police need to follow a proactive approach in implementing national instructions to prevent trespassing and land invasions, which have the potential of creating further conflict if not dealt with promptly by the police. “The police must take the above seriously and do their legal duty instead of standing by passively without considering the victim’s right to effective policing”, said Van der Westhuijzen.

Van der Westhuijzen continued “Agri SA is fully aware of farmers’ frustration with the high incidence of crime they face daily. Farmers should not despair, however, because we can, together, find solutions to these challenges. Agri SA also acknowledges those farmers who contribute towards curbing rural crime within their communities and who serve in various security structures in the interest of the organisation and their fellow farmers. We are aware that it requires sacrifice and a lot of time away from their businesses and that it places a financial burden on those individuals and their farming operations.”

In closing, he called on the farming community not to lower their guard during the festive season but rather to become, and remain, actively involved in their organised agriculture en security structures. It is also important, however, to continue liaising with the local police and to report all crime and suspicious behaviour immediately.

Van der Westhuijzen wished every farmer, farm worker and police officer who form part of the rural safety structures, a blessed and safe festive season.


Kobus Visser Director: Agri SA Rural Safety and Provincial Affairs (C) 082 388 0010

Uys van der Westhuijzen Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety (C) 083 321 9356