Rural safety: Managing emotions is now critical

Farmers, farm workers and rural communities are increasingly the victims of criminals. Brutal attacks lead to murder, and crime affects not only producers but also households and the broader community. It threatens rural stability, discourages investment, and has a direct negative effect on economic growth. Rural crime also has an impact on agricultural and rural communities, resulting in trauma and loss of innocent lives.

“These crimes are becoming a shocking reality and give rise to strong emotional responses. Our leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to calm these emotions, resulting in lawlessness which Agri SA cannot defend. I wish to warn our members to deal with all protests within the laws of our country and to refrain from acting in a lawless manner,” said Agri SA President, Pierre Vercueil.

Agri SA has also learned that various inaccurate accounts of what happened in Senekal were shared on social media. “I call on members of the public to refrain from posting such messages which could lead to further emotional responses and do not contribute to the legal process currently underway,” said Vercueil.

The blatant lawlessness, application of double standards and inflammatory political statements impact negatively on the very heart of South African society. It also threatens the strategic interests of agriculture and undermines confidence in the sector.

Agri SA and its member organisations are fully committed to the implementation of the Revised National Rural Safety Strategy. More effective implementation of this strategy should contribute towards curbing farm attacks and, so doing, create a safer environment within which agriculture can produce.

“In our discussions with the police earlier this week, special emphasis was placed on the implementation of the strategy, an improved reservist system and the creation of security control centres throughout the country in an attempt to improve farm safety,” said Tommie Esterhuyse, chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety. As an organisation, we are committed to cooperation with the police and government to curb farm attacks, murder and rural crime.”

While it is our constitutional right to be protected, we call on the police and the government to respond with absolute conviction and not to waive its responsibility to maintain law and order.

Pierre Vercueil
Agri SA President
(C) 082 524 8636

Tommie Esterhuyse
Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety
(C) 082 782 0668