Free State Agriculture and RPO welcome arrests by Hawks

Free State Agriculture (FSA) and the Red Meat Producers Organization (RPO) welcome the arrests by the Hawks carried out on 14 July 2021, where five police officers and two livestock speculators were arrested in Bloemfontein and Ladybrand. The arrests are related to a request by Herkie Viljoen, Chairperson of the Bethlehem Control room, to the Minister of Police in October 2020 after the protest march in Senekal over the murder of Brendin Horner, for the establishment of a task team to investigate alleged allegations of police corruption and stock theft. During the Minister’s visit to the Bethlehem area, a document containing the allegations was handed to the Minister. The suspects will appear in court on Ladybrand on 15 July 2021 on charges of stock theft, “defeating the ends of justice” and perjury. The livestock speculators will also face charges for possession of unlicensed firearms.

According to Francois Wilken, President of FSA, the arrests are the result of:

  1. Information obtained from farming communities (Bethlehem Control Room) contained in a document (“paper trail”) handed over to the Minister of Police. This information was also handed over directly to the Hawks during a meeting of the RPO’s Free State Livestock Theft Forum in collaboration with FSA and the farming community as well as other SAPS divisions involved in the investigations.
  2. Prove that allegations of police corruption involve a lengthy investigation process that is investigated by specialists such as the Hawks and where the burden of proof for successful prosecution must be obtained in the courts.
  3. Farmers must continue to report crime incidents to the Police for investigation, in order to ensure that cases can be linked.
  4. Any information regarding allegations of police corruption should also be contacted with specialist investigators.

Isabel Kruger, chairperson of the RPO’s Free State Livestock Theft Forum, trusts that more arrests and connections of stock theft cases can follow through the task team. During recent Stock Theft Information Center (VIS) meetings, farmers in the Bethlehem control area made it clear that they were no longer reporting stock theft cases, as there were few arrests. The RPO and FSA make themselves available to assist the SAPS in bail when the suspects appear in court.

Vrystaat Landbou en RPO verwelkom arrestasies deur Valke

Vrystaat Landbou (VL) en die Rooivleis Produsente Organisasie (RPO) verwelkom die arrestasies deur die Valke wat op 14 Julie 2021 uitgevoer is, waar vyf polisiebeamptes en twee veespekulante in Bloemfontein en Ladybrand gearresteer is. Dié arrestasies hou verband met ’n versoek van Herkie Viljoen, Voorsitter Bethlehem Beheerkamer, aan die Minister van Polisie in Oktober 2020 na die protesoptog in Senekal oor die moord op Brendin Horner, vir die totstandkoming van ’n taakspan om beweringe van polisie korrupsie en veediefstal te ondersoek. Tydens die Minister se besoek aan die Bethlehem area is ’n dokument wat die beweringe vervat, aan die Minister oorhandig. Die verdagtes sal op 15 Julie 2021 in die hof op Ladybrand verskyn op klagtes van veediefstal, “defeating the ends of justice” en meineed. Die veespekulante sal ook tereg staan op die besit van ongelisensieërde vuurwapens.

Volgens Francois Wilken, President van VL, is die arrestasies die uitvloeisel van:

  1. Inligting wat bekom is vanaf boerderygemeenskappe (Bethlehem Beheerkamer) wat vervat was in ’n dokument (“paper trail”) wat aan die Minister van Polisie oorhandig is. Hierdie inligting is ook tydens ’n vergadering van die RPO se Vrystaatse Veediefstalforum in samewerking met VL en die boeregemeenskap direk aan die Valke oorhandig asook ander SAPD afdelings wat betrokke is by die ondersoeke.
  2. Bewys dat beweringe van polisiekorrupsie ’n langer ondersoekproses behels wat deur spesialiste soos die Valke ondersoek word en waar bewyslas vir suksesvolle vervolging in die howe bekom moet word.
  3. Boere moet steeds voortgaan om misdaad insidente by die Polisie aan te meld vir ondersoek, ten einde te verseker dat sake verbind kan word.
  4. Enige inligting rakende beweringe van polisiekorrupsie moet ook met spesialis ondersoekers geskakel word.

Isabel Kruger, voorsitter van die RPO se Vrystaatse Veediefstalforum, vertrou dat nog arrestasies en verbintenisse van veediefstalsake deur die taakspan kan volg. Tydens onlangse Veediefstal Inligting Sentrum (VIS) vergaderings het boere in die beheergebied van Bethlehem dit duidelik gemaak dat hul nie meer veediefstalsake aanmeld nie, omrede weinig arrestasies daaruit voortvloei. Die RPO en VL stel hulself beskikbaar om die SAPD by te staan in borg oppponering wanneer die verdagtes in die hof verskyn.