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Western Cape ministers brief media on farm killing

Following the killing of Famer Stefan Smit on the Louiesenhof Wine Estate at Stellenbosch, Western Cape ministers of agriculture and community safety and other government officials have met to brief media on the incident

The ministers include Dr Ivan Meyer, minister of agriculture, Adv. Albert Fritz, minister of community safety, Adv. Gesie Deventer, executive mayor of stellenbosch municipality, and other role-players such as Agri Western Cape, the Stellenbosch Landbou Genootskap and the Deveon Valley Farmer’s Association.

“An attack on a farmer or an agri worker is an attack on our rural economy and we must put a stop to this. We must defend our rural economy against crime and lawlessness,” said Meyer.

Calling for the establishment of specialised SAPS rural safety units, the creation of a rural intelligence centre and engaging the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prioritise serious cases of criminality. The following was resolved:

· A meeting will be convened by the Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde on this coming Thursday with the executive of Agri Western Cape.

· Minister Fritz will meet with Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Gen. Jula at 5 o’clock this afternoon.

· Rural safety will be placed at the top of the agenda of all future Provincial Joints Safety Meetings which will also be attended by Ministers Meyer and Fritz.

· A meeting will be set up with Adv. Rodney de Kock, Western Cape Head of the NPA.

· The Western Cape Government will work with other role players to petition against bail for those arrested for killings within the farming community.

· The Rural Safety Priority Inter-Ministerial Committee to be established by July 2019.

· The introduction of provincial watching briefs for rural/ farm killing to be introduced with immediate effect.

Meyer commented, “Agriculture, forestry and fisheries are 3.9 per cent of the provincial GDP and agri processing a further 6.4 per cent. Combined it amounts to 10.3 per cent of Provincial GDP. Approximately 45 per cent of South Africa’s agricultural exports also originate from the Western Cape.”

Minister Fritz said, “We cannot tolerate attacks on our farmers, agri workers and communities. Our farms are the breadbaskets and provide a livelihood to the many surrounding it.”

“As a society, we need to change the narrative on safety at the macro level to ensure community buy-in. We cannot rely on SAPS and government alone. I will further be arranging a conference with various municipalities to establish a network of safety for our rural communities.

Mayor van Deventer expressed her condolences and thanked the Ministers for convening today’s meeting at such short notice. She further requested that any person with any information regarding these attacks should contact the Stellenbosch SAPS at 021 809 9140/2.