FSA concerned about Minister of Police’s unrest investigations

Free State Agriculture (FSA) has expressed its concern about the police’s ‘witch hunt’ on members of the public who were trying to protect themselves during the unrest in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng. According to Francois Wilken, president of FSA, Police Minister, Bheki Cele’s recent statements in the media are worrying and disappointing. Cele announced that the police’s focus on the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has shifted to criminal investigations into the so-called civilians who tried to protect themselves in the unrest, rather than investigating why the Police did not fulfill its mandate as contained in the Constitution and South African Police Act (Act 68 of 1995). Wilken says that the 5 core pillars of the police law specifically state that the police maintain domestic stability, the implementation of law and order, protection of citizens and their property as well as the prevention of crime. “Given the unrest that took place in the two provinces, the inability of the police was completely pointed out.”

Tommie Esterhuyse, vice-president of FSA, states that the 8 pillars of the Rural Safety Strategy that were revised in 2019, place great focus on the ability of the SAPS with regard to capacity, manpower, equipment and logistical capabilities (firearms and ammunition) which, given the current status quo, fall very short in protecting the rural areas and farming communities from increased crime. “The uncertainty and mistrust of the public about how the police controlled the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has further increased among the general public and the rural areas. The impact and extent of the unrest is enormous, not only to the economy, but also in terms of the affordability of food for the ordinary citizen.” says Esterhuyse.

According to Jakkals le Roux, chairman of the FSA’s Rural Safety Committee, it would appear that the Minister wants to make the law-abiding citizen / public the enemy who has no rights to protect him / herself because the police realize that they do not fulfill their legal obligation towards the general public. FSA is further concerned about the political “interference” in the execution of the police’s operational mandate and accountability that is currently playing out between the Minister and the top structure of the SAPS.

The unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng once again raises the question of how the reasonable man will defend and protect himself in unrest related situations as well as in an increased criminal onslaught, if the police’s wheels’ fall off? This means that the general citizenry is self-reliant to look after their own safety.

VL besorg oor Minister van Polisie se onrus ondersoeke

Vrystaat Landbou (VL) het sy kommer uitgespreek oor die polisie se ‘heksejag’ op lede van die publiek wat hulself tydens die onrus in Kwazulu-Natal en Gauteng probeer beskerm. Volgens Francois Wilken, president van VL, is Bheki Cele, Minister van Polisie, se onlangse uitsprake in die media kommerwekkend en teleurstellend. Cele het aangekondig dat die polisie se fokus rakende die onrus in KwaZulu-Natal en Gauteng geskuif het na kriminele ondersoeke op die sogenaamde burgery wat hulself in die onrus probeer beskerm het, eerder as om ondersoek in te stel waarom die Polisie nie sy mandaat soos vervat in die Konstitusie en Suid-Afrikaanse Polisie Wet (Wet 68 van 1995) kan nakom nie. Wilken sê dat die 5 kern pilare van die polisie wet juis meld dat die polisie binnelandse stabiliteit handhaaf, die uitvoering van wet en orde, beskerming van burgery en hul eiendom asook die voorkoming van misdaad. “Gegewe die onrus wat in die twee provinsies plaasgevind het, is die onvermoë van die polisie totaal uitgewys.”

Tommie Esterhuyse, vise-president van VL meld dat die 8 pilare van die Landelike Beveiliging Strategie wat in 2019 hersien is, ʼn groot fokus op die vermoë van die SAPD plaas t.o.v. kapasiteit, mannekrag, toerusting, logistieke vermoëns (vuurwapens en ammunisie) wat gegewe die huidige status quo ver daarin te kort skiet om die landelike gebiede en boerderygemeenskappe teen verhoogde kriminaliteit te beskerm. “Die onsekerheid en wantroue van die publiek oor hoe die polisie die onrus in KwaZulu-Natal en Gauteng beheer het, het verder onder die algemene publiek en die landelike gebiede toegeneem. Die impak en omvang van die onrus is geweldig groot, nie net aan die ekonomie nie, maar ook ten opsigte van die bekostigbaarheid van voedsel vir die gewone burger.” meen Esterhuyse.

Volgens Jakkals le Roux, voorsitter van VL se Landelike Veiligheidskomitee, wil dit voorkom asof die Minister met die ondersoeke die wetsgehoorsame burger/publiek die vyand wil maak wat geen regte het om hom/haarself te beskerm nie omrede die polisie besef dat hul nie hul regsverpligting teenoor die algemene publiek nakom nie. VL is verder besorg oor die politieke “inmenging” in die uitvoering van die polisie se operasionele mandaat en verantwoordbaarheid wat tans tussen die Minister en die topstruktuur van die SAPD uitspeel.

Die onrus in KwaZulu-Natal en Gauteng laat weereens die vraag ontstaan hoe die redelike man homself gaan verdedig en beskerm in onrus verwante situasies asook in ʼn verhoogde kriminele aanslag, as die polisie se “wiele afval”? Dit beteken dat die algemene burgery selfaangewese is om na hul eie veiligheid om te sien.