NW MEC joins farmers in the crime battle

Crime in North West will be dealt a double blow with a strategy developed by the Lichtenburg farming community and the West Department of Transport, Roads and Community Safety.
Issue date : 01 August 2008

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Crime in North West will be dealt a double blow with a strategy developed by the Lichtenburg farming community and the West Department of Transport, Roads and Community Safety. “We have listened to the concerns of farmers and we agree that the department and the farming community will work together to come up with a strategy that will solve crimes in the area,” said Phenye Vilakazi the North West for Transport, Roads and Community Safety.

Nantes Kelder, the AfriForum community safety head, said his organisation, as well as TAU SA, were pleasantly surprised to have the undivided attention of the MEC. “MEC called us back after we handed in a memorandum to the department that highlighted our concerns and grievances over rural safety, policing and service delivery,” said Kelder.

“Vilakazi asked TAU SA and us to come back to him with a workable strategy on how we felt crime could be prevented.” While the MEC suggested community policing forums, felt that confidence and trust in the police was too low. “It was alluded to that if sector policing forums were formed, the would ensure that police officers accompanied farmers in their bakkies and that radios would be installed,” said Kelder. “The is very proactive and we all appreciate the job he is doing – he was also part of the search team that combed the West in search of the Deysel couple’s killers. “An agreement has been made to work together on this crime-fighting strategy which will benefit members of the community not only in Lichtenburg, but in the province as a whole,” added Kelder. – David Steynberg

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Farmers’ union takes a stand on labour housing

In a strongly worded statement the Overberg District Agricultural Association (DAA) has distanced itself from the labour practices at Mandaryn fruit farm in Riviersonderend in the Western Cape. eighbouring farmers objected to the inadequate housing supplied to migrant workers for the duration of the harvesting season on the farm. Stock theft in the area increased with their arrival and neighbouring pastures were frequented as toilets.

One group of workers was housed in a ramshackle hostel, where men, women and children all stayed together in halls. nother group have been housed in a tent since April, without sanitary services except for or a few portable toilets blown over by the wind. The workers had to prepare food outside as there are no kitchen facilities, said Wessel-Jan van Deventer, the chairperson of the Riviersonderend Agricultural Union. “Organised agriculture is shocked and outraged by the inhuman treatment of workers,” said Orton King, an executive officer of the Overberg DAA.

“It’s exactly this kind of behaviour that gives agriculture a bad name and we emphasise that the farm is not affiliated  17to any agricultural organisation, and we disapprove of what is happening there in the strongest possible way.” Callie Junius, farm manager said, “The workers are housed in a hostel with adequate facilities.” Asked about the tent Junius said it was being taken down as harvesting was over. Foreign workers, mostly from Zimbabwe and Lesotho, were brought to the farm by a sub-contractor from De Doorns whose name Junius “couldn’t remember, and never saw since”. Van Deventer confirmed that the tent was taken down on 8 July. – Wouter Kriel

Poison found in Kiwi meat exports

The New Zealand government is facing calls to ban the highly toxic pesticide endosulfan after it was found in beef shipped to South Korea. The Zealand Food Safety Authority is investigating the incident after the Korean National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service reported traces of endosulfan in a 26kg carton of meat. ew Zealand agriculture minister Jim Anderton said the pesticide is not in quantities that are health-threatening for human consumption and the contamination had been traced to one farm in Island. New Zealand’s beef exports to South Korea are worth NZ$256 million (R1,4 billion) a year. – Alan Harman

Down Under to get drier

A griculture Minister Tony Burke says a new report warns that Australia could experience drought twice as often within the next 20 to 30 years. Bureau of Meteorology and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation report said the droughts could cover twice the area and be more severe in key agricultural production areas. Temperatures now defined as “exceptional” are likely to occur, on average, once every two years. “Parts of those higher-end predictions read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report,” Burke told reporters. – Alan Harman