AfriForum Deputy CEO Ernst Roets expressed concern that farm attacks could not be prioritised as a result of the Ministry of Police’s stance that “crime is crime”.
“Farmers, white and black, are being attacked and killed. This includes farm workers,” Roets said. “In the minister’s view, the same ‘crime is crime’ argument doesn’t count for various other crimes that have already been prioritised, such as rhino poaching, copper cable theft, gang-related violence, violence against women and children and so forth.”
This followed Minister of Police Nathi Mthetwa’s appeal for groups and trade unions not to politicise farm killings “unnecessarily”.
Ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi said the SAPS was committed to fighting crime in whatever form it manifested – including farm killings.
“We have placed the issue of rural development high on the agenda and view the safety and security of the rural community in South Africa as a priority,” said Mnisi.
“Our rural safety plan addresses vulnerable sectors of rural communities including, women, children, elderly, disabled and even immigrants. We do not prioritise these crimes based on racial profiling, but treat them equally.”
Mnisi added that the rural safety plan aimed to enhance service delivery at local station level, increase police visibility and response times and improve relationships between the police, the farming community, stakeholders and rural communities.