Farmers are cautioned to be more alert with the festive season approaching and be aware of increased criminal activity, according to Chris van Zyl, assistant general manager of TAU SA.
Van Zyl pointed out that although at first glance it seemed as if criminal activity in farming areas was targeted at “marketable items” and livestock, violence should not be ruled out.
“On the contrary, in the vast majority of farm attacks I am aware of, the levels of violence inflicted on victims are far above the obvious motive.”
He stressed that it was therefore critical for farmers not to relax their vigilance during the festive season
In a joint statement by Agri SA and TAU SA, the organisations advised farmers to adopt good safety habits during the festive season.
Although protective measures were never a guarantee that a farm attack or crime would not occur, it could delay or foil an attack and create the opportunity to raise the alarm, the statement said.
These safety tips to farmers to consider:
- Landowners must apply the protocol for farm access and insist on their rights as owner of the farm. Apply effective access control and always be aware of visitors on your farm;
- Landowners must become involved in their local organised agriculture and Farm Watch structures;
- Ensure that alternative communication sources, such as radios, are available in the event of power outages and disruption in cell phone reception;
- Avoid selling farm products directly from the farm as far as possible;
- Make sure that proper control is exercised over farming inputs and equipment and that these are securely locked up at night;
- Make sure about the availability of legal representation and determine which state prosecutors are available;
- Be aware that stock theft might increase during this time. Count your animals regularly and know where they are grazing;
- When you go on holiday, make sure that valuable possessions such as firearms are stored safely;
- Include visitors in our security planning so that they know precisely how to act in an emergency;
- Report all suspicious-looking people and activities to your nearest police station.