SA rural safety plan accepted in principle

GOVERMENT’S NATIONAL RURAL safety plan has been accepted in principle by the authorities, but there are two issues that need to be finalised, said Agri SA safety and security chairperson Andre Botha.

The first concerns the use of private firearms by rural reservists. “These reservists are often far from the closest police station so it’s difficult for them to use official firearms when on duty. And the SAPS won’t allow them to use private firearms. We’re looking into the possibility of decentralised sentrums where the reservists can report on duty and be issued with official firearms.”

The second matter concerns using private vehicles on duty – and who will be liable for the costs if the vehicles are damaged.However, it’s uncertain if the planwill be made public, said Agri Free State (FSA) safety and security chairperson Cobus Breytenbach.  He said they provided their input 18 months ago and were still waiting for the plan to be finalised. Inputs were also made by the broader rural community, such as the representatives of Transkei and Qua Qua, to address their particular problems, he said.

“Nevertheless, the proposals from the Free State were based on the FSA rural safety plan, which has proven to be highly successful time and time again.”The FSA plan was drawn up after the commandos were done away with and is based on cooperation between farmers, their workers and the SA Police Service (SAPS). “The most important factor is that the national plan must be practical and uncomplicated. We’ve made a marked difference in crime in our province and one hopes that the national plan will address the ever increasing levels of crime in rural areas equally well,” said Breytenbach.