Farmers must take responsibility for own safety

Farmers must increase their own safety and security measures on farm level. This was the message following a meeting between the Graskop Farmers Association in Villiers, Free State Agriculture (FSA) and the SAPS after the spate of farm attacks in the province so far this year.

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Ernst (75) and Annetjie van Rooyen (74) were killed on their farm Somerset in the Parys district. Farming couple Jannie (64) and Stinie du Plessis (59) were also attacked in the Villiers district. The 48 year old Malani Pitout from the farm Malana near Kroonstad was viciously attacked with a knob-kierie and Pieter (58) and Elsa (55) Kolver were assaulted on their smallholding near Bloemfontein. Jannie du Plessis has meanwhile succumbed to the injuries he sustained during the attack.

The Graskop Farmers’ spokesperson Bennie Jonker said in a statement the community was forced to re-evaluate its safety and security structures after the attack on the du Plessis couple. “It is a fact that we as farmers have to take responsibility for our own safety, despite the fact that we as taxpayers are entitled to protection in terms of the Constitution. No police force in the world can guarantee 100% protection. The increase in rural violence and crime is catastrophic for the agricultural sector. It is therefore crucial that farming communities activate and maintain safety structures.”

FSA CEO, Henk Vermeulen said the excellent relationship between the farming community and the SAPS in the Mafube municipality was commendable. “All farmers and landowners are called upon to work in conjunction with their local SAPS in an effort to curb rural crime. I also call on farmers and people staying on farms to become members of FSA’s Safety and Security plan as a matter of urgency.” 

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