Take seriously the implementation of the National Rural Safety Strategy to prevent violent crime on farms

While Agri SA welcomes the 2022 safer festive season operations launched by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in November, it remains essential that Minister Bheki Cele provides details for the rollout of the National Rural Safety Strategy in rural farming communities after the Rural Safety Summit held in June 2022 in Parys. Agri SA urges Minister Cele and police management to take seriously the implementation of the strategy. 

As it stands, rural communities are still awaiting progress on the implementation of the National Rural Safety Strategy, which was reaffirmed during the Summit in Parys. This needs to be implemented fully in every rural police station urgently. The strategy provides the best means to deal with the crimes affecting farming communities provided that it is properly implemented and resourced. It has been four months since the Summit was held and the Minister has been silent on the progress of the adoption by the Cabinet of the proposed interventions agreed at the Summit. Agri SA therefore called on the Minister of Police, in a letter addressed to him, to prioritise and to fast-track this process in order to address rural safety. We are still waiting for a response from Minister Cele. If the effective implementation of the strategy is not taken seriously by police management, the extensive engagements over the course of the Summit would be of no value.  

South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world with a high murder rate. This is illustrated by the recent crime statistics released by the Minister of Police for the second quarter of 2022/2023, showing an increase in relation to the same period for 2021/2022, in murder of 13% or 76 murders per day, an increase of all contact crimes against the person and aggravated robbery with robberies at residents increasing with 8,4%. There was also an increase in farm murders for the same period.  

These crimes affect the farming community daily. Due to the vastness of rural farming areas and the long distances from service centres and the police, the farming community are more vulnerable to rural crime, and they have to depend on one another for assistance in emergency situations such as a farm attack. The blitz operations envisaged by the police together with their intensified efforts to combat these crimes must be included in the police’s operational plans for the rural farming areas as South Africa cannot allow criminality to threaten the lives of the farming communities or their property during the festive season.

The heightened visibility envisaged by the police during the festive season coupled with crime combatting operations also needs to be accompanied by effective crime intelligence. This can only be executed by functional crime intelligence structures that are capable of preventing crime before it occurs and able to react appropriately when it occurs. This requires visible policing of crime-affected farming areas and the ability to respond rapidly and effectively to crime-related information. 

Agri SA therefore calls on farming communities to be more alert during the festive season and to ensure that their protective measures are in place. Although these measures cannot prevent all crimes, they can delay or foil an attack giving people the opportunity to raise the alarm. We know that farming communities already do a laudable job of protecting each other and they must be credited for their initiatives under difficult situations. These initiatives must be heightened during the festive season.  

Finally, Agri SA urges our farmer members to work with the police at the local level and report all crime and suspicions activities. Agri SA expects the police to investigate all crimes reported to them and thoroughly prepare dockets for the successful prosecution of suspects. This involves the active pursuit and gathering of reliable full proof evidence against suspects.  

Agri SA wishes the police well in their endeavours in combatting and preventing criminal activities during the festive season. 


Kobus Visser

Director: Agri SA Rural Safety & Provincial Affairs

(C) 082 388 0010

Uys van der Westhuijzen

Chair of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Rural Safety

(C) 083 321 9356