Free State communities experience increase in crime wave

The Free State had the highest number of farm attacks of all the provinces in the recent third quarter crime statistics of 2020-2021, an increase of 53.85%. The Free State had an increase of 14.1% in murder incidents and 39.2% in attempted murder incidents during the same period. The murder and attempted murder figures are the highest in a 5 year period. Free State Agriculture (FSA) regards the increase as proof that the government is not properly equipping and staffing the SAPS to combat crime effectively.

The serious violent crimes form part of farm murders and attacks which showed that the Free State experienced the most farm murders in a 3 month period from 1 October to 31 December 2020 (57.15%). High crime areas regarding farm attacks / murders are Bloemfontein (smallholding areas), Clocolan, Hennenman, Mafube, Odendaalsrus, Viljoenskroon and Virginia.

“During the Covid-19 restrictions on the movement of farmers that were curtailed, we experienced how serious the government is about enforcing regulations. We refuse to accept that the wave of crime that terrorizes communities should simply be accepted that way. The re-implementation of the rural safety strategy with the same seriousness and political will is simple and can be done.” says Dr Jane Buys, Safety Risk Analyst at Free State Agriculture (FSA).

Although the armed robbery rate dropped by 12.5%, home and business robberies increased by 2.7% and 6.8% respectively. These figures of serious violent crime, recently reproduced by the Minister of Police in its quarterly release, have a direct impact on all communities and farming communities, Buys reports.

As far as stock theft statistics are concerned, the Minister pointed out that 74 947 pieces of livestock were stolen in the RSA in the 3 month period with 44.96% of them sheep, 23.29% cattle and 21.37% goats. No indication was given regarding the numbers stolen per province, although the Free State has the third highest reporting of stock theft crime figures in the country.

What is worrying, however, is that in addition to the 36 towns that indicated an increase in stock theft of 10% and more, there are another 25 towns that reported the same or more stock theft cases in a 9 month period from 1 April to 31 December 2020. According to Buys, the towns along with the top 10 stations of reporting need to be given serious priority and attention in terms of increased crime prevention actions and operations.

Mr Jakkals le Roux, chairman of the FSA’s Rural Safety Committee, believes that the fact that the revised rural safety strategy (RSS) has not yet been rolled out in farming communities in the Free State can be pertinently seen in the increased crime picture pointed out by the Minister, adversely affecting the agricultural sector.

Free State Agriculture (FSA) requests the SAPS, together with farming communities, to roll out the RSS with accompanying security plans, increased policing actions and the establishment of task teams in rural areas in order to establish greater security in communities.

Vrystaat gemeenskappe ervaar toename in misdaadgolf

Die Vrystaat het die meeste plaasaanvalle van al die provinsies in die onlangse derde kwartaal misdaad statistieke van 2020-2021 gehad, ʼn toename van 53.85%. Die Vrystaat het ʼn toename van 14.1% in moord insidente en 39.2% in poging tot moord insidente gedurende dieselfde tydperk gehad. Die moord en poging tot moord syfers is die hoogste in ʼn 5 jaar periode. Vrystaat Landbou (VL) beskou die toename as ʼn bewys dat die regering nie die SAPD na behore toerus en beman om misdaad effektief te bestry nie.

Die ernstige geweldsmisdade vorm deel van plaasmoorde en -aanvalle wat uitgewys het dat die Vrystaat die meeste plaasmoorde in ʼn 3 maande periode vanaf 1 Oktober tot 31 Desember 2020 ervaar het (57.15%). Hoë misdaad areas tov plaasaanvalle/moorde is Bloemfontein (kleinhoewe areas), Clocolan, Hennenman, Mafube, Odendaalsrus, Viljoenskroon en Virginia.

“Tydens die Covid-19 inperkings met beweging van boere wat ingekort is, het ons ervaar hoe die regering erns maak om regulasies toe te pas. Ons weier om te aanvaar dat die misdaadgolf wat gemeenskappe terroriseer net eenvoudig so aanvaar moet word. Die her-implementering van die landelike beveiligingstrategie met dieselfde erns en politieke wil is eenvoudig en kan gedoen word.”, sê Dr Jane Buys, Veiligheidsrisiko-analis van Vrystaat Landbou (VL).

Alhoewel die gewapende roof syfer met 12.5% gedaal het, het huis- en besigheidsrowe met onderskeidelik 2.7% en 6.8% toegeneem. Hierdie syfers van ernstige geweldsmisdaad, wat onlangs deur die Minister van Polisie in sy kwartaallikse vrystelling weergegee is, het ʼn direkte impak op alle gemeenskappe en boerdery gemeenskappe meld Buys.

Wat veediefstal-statistieke aanbetref, het die Minister uitgewys dat 74 947 stuks vee in die 3 maande periode in die RSA gesteel is met 44.96% daarvan skape, 23.29% beeste en 21.37% bokke. Daar is geen aanduiding gegee rakende die getalle wat per provinsie gesteel is nie, alhoewel die Vrystaat die derde hoogste aanmelding van veediefstal misdryf syfers in die land het.

Wat egter kommerwekkend is, is dat behalwe die 36 dorpe wat ʼn toename in veediefstal van 10% en meer aangedui het, daar nog 25 dorpe wat in ʼn 9 maande periode vanaf 1 April tot 31 Desember 2020, dieselfde of meer veediefstal sake gerapporteer het as wat in die vorige finansiële jaar aangemeld is. Volgens dr Buys moet die dorpe tesame met die top 10 stasies van aanmelding ernstig prioriteit en aandag geniet in terme van verhoogde misdaad voorkomingsaksies en operasies.

Mnr Jakkals le Roux, voorsitter van VL se Landelike Veiligheidskomitee, meen die feit dat die hersiene landelike beveiligingstrategie (LBS) nog nie in boerderygemeenskappe in die Vrystaat uitgerol is nie, kan pertinent gesien word in die verhoogde misdaadprent wat deur die Minister uitgewys is en wat die landbousektor nadelig beïnvloed.

Vrystaat Landbou (VL) versoek die SAPD om tesame met boerderygemeenskappe die LBS met gepaardgaande veiligheidsplanne, verhoogde polisiëringaksies en die daarstel van taakspanne, in landelike gebiede uit te rol ten einde groter veiligheid in gemeenskappe daar te stel.