By Ismail Obaray MPL DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Agriculture:
The DA condemns the senseless shooting of Boshoff farmer, Douglas Pope, this morning and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Pope was allegedly shot in the stomach when he got out of his bakkie to open his farm gate, which is situated next to a public gravel road. Pope is said to be in a stable condition and is recovering in Gariep MediClinic in Kimberley.
The attack on Pope is unsettling. While Boshoff falls within the Free State, it borders on the Northern Cape and is a mere 40 kilometers away from Kimberley. It is thus close enough to be of grave concern to the Northern Cape farming community.
According to SAPS, farm murders have increased by 30% in the country since 2010.
Rural safety issues contribute to the decline in commercial farmer numbers.
Experts predict that commercial farmer numbers will decline to 15 000 individuals over the next fifteen years, causing significant job losses in the agricultural sector added to which the local production of food will drop dramatically. This severely risks our food security as a country.
Farm murders and farm attacks must be come to an end. First and foremost, this requires the political will of government leaders to implement a robust plan to upscale rural safety.
If government is serious about combating this problem, they should:
- Establish a rural safety unit within the SAPS;
- deploy specialised Rural Reaction Units to clearly identify rural crime “hotspots” on a rotating basis;
- improve rural crime intelligence gathering
- and create a SAPS Rural Intelligence Centre that would improve the gathering and analysing of rural crime information and thus better inform crime prevention initiatives.
Everyone, including farmers and farm workers, deserve to feel safe and protected in this country.