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Free State farm attack shows that police do not take rural safety seriously

The incident that transpired over the weekend in which an elderly farm manager was attacked near Zastron in the Free State and the local police did not have a vehicle available to visit the scene of the crime proves that the police service is not serious about rural safety.

It appears as if the police service's national rural safety plan, which was supposed to have been implemented by 31 August last year but was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is no longer considered a priority.

During the incident this past Sunday, the 77-year-old Mr Simon Makhota was attacked, stabbed with knives and then his three assailants tried to drown him in a septic tank.

Farmers in the vicinity rushed to provide assistance, but when the police in Zastron was contacted they reportedly could not go out to the scene of the crime because they did not have a vehicle available.

The public has taken note of how police manpower is frequently wasted on patrolling empty beaches and in light of that, it is absolutely unacceptable that the police had no vehicles available to respond to a serious farm attack.

Infrastructure and manpower are two of the most important components of the rural safety plan and the FF Plus finds it unacceptable that no progress has apparently been made.

When the rural safety plan was initiated in 2019, the FF Plus pointed out that similar plans failed in the past because words were not put into action. What is happening at present is just a repetition of past mistakes.

For a long time, the party has been demanding that farm attacks must be declared a priority crime so that more resources can be made available for rural safety and the party will keep fighting for this to happen.

The FF Plus (Dr Pieter Groenewald) will raise the issue again in Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police and will take it up with the National Police Commissioner, Lt.-Gen. Khehla Sithole, as well.

Thus, the party will ensure that the rural safety plan remains on the agenda. The pandemic and the lockdown regulations may not be used as an excuse to snuff this initiative.

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