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FSA welcomes extra vehicles to combat crime in Free State

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The South African Police Service (SAPS) announced at Glen Agricultural College in Bloemfontein that 48 vehicles have been made available to help improve rural safety. From left are Tommie Esterhuyse, Vice President of Free State Agriculture (FSA), Sam Mashinini, Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, lt. General. Moeketsi Sempe, Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS, and Jakkals le Roux, Chairperson of FSA’s Rural Safety Committee. Photo: Free State Agriculture

22 July 2019
Free State Agriculture (FSA) is pleased with the 48 extra vehicles being given to rural safety coordinators at Free State police stations. This is according to Tommie Esterhuyse, Vice President of FSA, after these vehicles were made available by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to help combat crime.

According to him, it is “a historic day for rural safety” and he welcomed the gesture. The vehicles will only be used by the police to address crime in rural and agricultural communities.

On 19 July 2019 at Glen Agricultural College in Bloemfontein Sam Mashinini, Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, said the vehicles will be used to address serious violent crimes and stock theft. According to Esterhuyse, it is a given that more manpower and vehicles are still needed.

Mashinini also stressed that the vehicles should be looked after as if they were the property of police officers. He said farmers should mark their livestock and regularly take a stock count and that the Free State is a province where agricultural communities must be able to do their business in peace.

Lt. General. Moeketsi Sempe, Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS, confirmed that the vehicles were issued as part of phase one of the Rural Safety Strategy (RSS) to address crimes in rural areas, in conjunction with agricultural communities. He also reported that safety coordinators will work flexitime in response to their crime pattern analysis.

Sempe thanked FSA for the good cooperation between the police and the organisation. He also requested farmers to evaluate police service delivery and where problems arise, the line of command or protocol on complaints should be followed. “Farmers should not take the law into their own hands and must comply with all laws,” he said.

According to Esterhuyse Genl. Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of the SAPS, during talks with Agri SA reported that he sees organised agriculture as a partner in the RSS.

He emphasized a relationship of trust and that, in addition to cooperation and relationships, mutual trust should be worked on. The vehicles should be seen as a tool to build good relationships between farm workers, farmers and the police.