The National Commissioner of the South African Police, General Khehla John Sitole together with other senior officers engaged in a meeting with Agri SA, TLU SA and AfriForum in Pretoria this morning in an effort to address matters of criminality affecting the rural communities.
All parties engaged in robust discussions on interventions that of which matters of mutual trust, reservist system, a rural safety summit, cross boarder crime affecting the farming community and the Economics of Policing (Policingnomics) were highlighted.
The National Commissioner has again reiterated unwavering commitment of the South African Police Service to prioritise crimes in rural areas both proactively and reactively.
The meeting agreed to formalise the establishment of the national and local Joint Rural Safety Command Centres and in doing so this will realise an integration of both personnel and resources, among others, the use of helicopters and drones.
These centres will be responsible to jointly implement the operational plan of the rural safety strategy which will address the issues of mutual trust as well as achieving the ultimate objective of significantly reducing crime in the rural areas.
Fighting crimes, including farm attacks, in rural communities through visibility, the meeting further agreed that it is imperative to customise community policing through the establishment of community-based mounted units, the Royal Reserve Police Service as part of the Traditional Policing concept as well as the Tourism Reservists. There was also emphasis placed on addressing within a task team, the practical challenges with the recruitment and utilization of reservists to make it more accessible for the farming community.
The National Commissioner had further reiterated the SAPS Turnaround Vision: Comprehensive Rural Development which states “The combating of stock theft and farm attacks, implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy which focuses on rural safety, infrastructure and a rural safety framework”.
“The implementation of stabilisation interventions in hotspot areas is critical to ensuring an effective proactive approach”, said General Sitole
Cross boarder crime affecting the farming community were discussed and emphasise was placed on resourcing police stations at the border, improving intelligence and the establishment of cross boarder liaison committees. “Crime intelligence will enhance its approach in determining the hotspot areas through its continued participation in the priority committee meetings all levels of policing as well as the establishment of a Rural Safety Analysis desk”, added General Sitole.
The meeting agreed that an integrated team will urgently address the security concerns in the Tlhakgaming area in the North West among others.
This high-level committee will convene on a quarterly basis to monitor progress of the implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy and decisions taken at previous meetings.
Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo – 082 567 4153, Spokesperson for the National Commissioner
Tommie Esterhuyse – 082 782 0668, Chairman of Agri SA Rural Safety Committee
Bennie van Zyl – 082 466 4470, General Manager of TLU SA