The ACDP wishes to thank honourable Groenewald for this topic for discussion.
Violent crime in the country in the country has reached unacceptable levels. It is the primary role of the state to protect its citizens. In our view government is failing dismally in this regard. People do not feel safe in the homes, at work, and in other public places.
The ACDP is extremely concerned about the numbers of attacks on farms and smallholdings, often very brutal in nature. We condemn these farms attacks and murders in the strongest possible terms.
There has also been a significant increase in the incidents of poaching, stock theft, crop theft, theft of farming equipment and arson.
Commercial and emerging farmers play a key role in ensuring food security in the country. Besides the tragic loss of life, and injuries to farmers and farm workers, food security is threatened by these ongoing attacks.
Government’s National Rural Safety Strategy must be reviewed. The government has implemented commendable steps to fight the scourge of gender-based violence in the country but is not doing nearly enough to protect another vulnerable sector – the agricultural community.
What makes matters worse is the very arrest low arrest and conviction rate. A report, released this Tuesday, says out of 1,402 farm attacks recorded by the SA Police Service (SAPS) between 2019 and 2022, there have been convictions in only 66 cases. Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the North West and the Northern Cape did not have any murder convictions for the period under review. This is disgraceful.
Criminals clearly take advantage of the increased vulnerability of farmers as they live in isolated rural areas. Electricity and telephone lines were often cut off before farm attacks, and because there are no cellphone signals, farmers and farm workers are often left to their own devices.
The chant “Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer” aggravates an already dire situation.
The ACDP believes that far more can and must be done to protect farmers and their workers.
To conclude, the ACDP wishes to thank and honour all the farmers and farm workers who have ensured that we have food on our tables despite these ongoing attacks. We also wish to thank all those dedicated police officials, neighbourhood and farm watches that have assisted in protecting farmers and their workers and have arrested some of the suspects in these attacks. Baie dankie aan julle almal.
Lastly, we call on all South Africans to pray for the protection of farmers and their workers at this time, as well as to pray for the families and friends of those who have been murdered or are recovering from their injuries. How much longer will we as citizens tolerate these unspeakable acts of violence against our citizens?
We support the establishment of an ad hoc committee as suggested in the motion.
I thank you.”