The following speech was delivered by Katlego Suzan Phala DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 22 October 2015 during a debate on farm attacks in Limpopo.
The DA is deeply concerned for all South African’s who today have to experience ever increasing levels of crime.
In the DA’s vision of One Nation with One Future which is built on Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity, children are safe from harm and citizens are able to walk in their cities , townships and farms without fear .This is not a promise but a constitutional right.
The latest information on farm attacks is the greatest form of motive and evidence which proves the need for specialised crime units in far flung areas of this province.
In 2015 alone, there were 116 farm attacks and more than a fifth were fatal.
Of the 27 recorded murders, 25 occurred on farms in Limpopo which makes it the highest rate in the country by June this year. These include farmers, workers , their relatives and visitors at the time of the attacks.
These are not just statistics they are events that have torn families and the very fabric of our society apart.
Farm attacks in Limpopo have taken on a very intense, frequent and brutal nature. If left to continue at this rate it will irreversibly affect our local economy .
Experts predict that commercial farmer numbers will decline to 15 000 individuals over the next 15 years causing significant job losses in the agricultural sector.
This will ultimately impact the local production of food and significantly reduce this province and country’s food security.
In 2014/15, crime prevention and community police relations was allocated R 14 million and 98% of this was used ,yet we do not see added value for money in reality.
The department of Safety, Security and Liaison is tasked with the crucial responsibility of ensuring that citizens are safe and secure as well as mobilizing communities to participate in social crime prevention initiatives.
However, the DA believes this is not enough.
Communities especially those located in rural and farm areas need to be equipped with practical skills and training on how to handle real life attacks and robbery scenarios.
The department is very quick to provide positive statistics of crime prevention strategies in more urban areas.
However, we want to know what it has done to ensure that rural and farming communities in particular are working together with the police to combat the spate of attacks.
Earlier this year, we conducted an oversight visit to Modimolle station.
Half the vehicles were held up at garages, and the station still experiences high levels of absenteeism.
While the Commander confirmed he had enough staff, he admitted his resources were not even close to being sufficient to fight crime in the area.
The DA urges this house to heed to Cornel West’s sentiment that: “You cannot lead the people if you don’t love the people. You cannot save the people, if you do not serve the people.”
I cannot help but ask when did the leadership of this province fall out of love with the people?
When did we give up on coming up with effective solutions to such an eminent crisis where people who just want to serve their community through farming are thrown and locked into freezers or
have their loved ones shot and die in their arms?
Crime affects each and every one of us.
We must fight crime with all means at our disposal, because the people of Limpopo deserve better.
They do not need to live under siege in their barricaded homes, their increasingly alarm-protected cars and their high-walled gated communities.
The DA’s vision for this province is one which has specialised rural safety units as well as highly trained and resourced SAPS that is trusted by the public.
We further call for joint-partnership between the department of Safety and Security, Social development and Health to implement a trauma and counselling programme for farm attack victims whose painful narrative remains undocumented and unaddressed