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Worrying trend in attacks on Hankey farmers

The second attack on farmers in the Hankey area in as many weeks should be sounding alarms, and police should be pulling out all stops to bring these assailants to justice.

The first attack saw a 72-year-old farmer shot in the leg during a shoot-out with attackers on his smallholding on Wednesday last week [11 August 2021]. The assailants fled the scene and no arrests have been made.

Three nights ago a second attack occurred, with an elderly couple overwhelmed on their farm by at least five heavily armed intruders, who then made off with firearms and other valuables.

“The red lights have been flashing for some time, and these latest attacks highlight the vulnerability of our farming community.

I have constantly raised the issue of rural safety and have called for a rural safety summit in the Eastern Cape.

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If this trend continues, it could have a catastrophic impact on rural safety and the viability of the agricultural sector in the province,” said Bobby Stevenson, the DA Shadow MEC for Safety and Security in the Eastern Cape.

The SAPS need to pull out all stops to apprehend these criminals.

The Democratic Alliance believes that some of the steps that can be taken to improve rural security are:

1️⃣ The introduction of specialized units dedicated to protecting rural communities;
2️⃣ Increase the research and statistical information on these crimes and make it available on an electronic dashboard;
3️⃣ Increase the investigative capacity of SAPS. This means the utilization of every available technology, such as drones, when tracking perpetrators;
4️⃣ The reclassification of farm attacks as priority crimes, which would result in an increase of resources made available to deal with them;
5️⃣ There should also be tax relief measures for those in rural areas, such as farmers, who have to pay for private security companies, as well as subsidies for farm patrollers, farm watchers, and companies providing security in rural communities;
6️⃣ We also need to increase the crime intelligence capacity for rural areas, and
7️⃣ Border security needs to be improved upon.