Rural safety plan finally launched

All resources that ensured a safe 2010 World Cup must now ensure the safety of rural dwellers. So said national police minister Nathi Mthethwa at the launch of the rural safety plan in Nigel recently.

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The safety plan should initially have been set in motion in April this year, with Gauteng the first province earmarked for the rollout due to its high crime rate. “I’d like to see all the equipment secured during the World Cup being used to fight crime in the rural areas,” said Mthethwa. “We’re tired of talking about the same thing over and over. We’re now implementing the plans,” he added. Mthethwa said he wanted to see criminals arrested and successfully convicted.

“We have the police officers and the right resources. It’s a question of deploying these resources effectively,” he said, adding that, in terms of numbers of police officers, South Africa is in the same league as many European countries. He also urged farmers not to employ foreign labourers as this would add to tensions between farmers and local farmworkers.Gauteng police commissioner lieutenant general Mzwandile Petros said police visibility would be increased.

“We’ve secured high-powered vehicles, helicopters and cellphones. Those things have to start working now,” he explained. André Botha, Agri SA’s national rural safety committee chairperson, welcomed the plan and commended Mthethwa for taking rural crime seriously.Meanwhile, deputy police minister Fikile Mbalula launched the North West rural safety plan in Lichtenburg. The dates for the remaining provinces are still to be set. 

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