Level 4 regulations can lead to gap in policing in rural areas

The announcement of level 4 Covid regulations by the government, which include roadblocks around Gauteng that must be manned by amongst others SAPS Safety Coordinators, could possibly lead to a gap in policing in rural areas. Free State Agriculture (FSA) and the Red Meat Producers Organization (RPO) therefore request farmers to be involved in safety structures in their respective areas, but especially in the Northern Free State, in order to establish readiness and visibility in the rural areas.

Tommie Esterhuyse, vice-president of FSA, says that many Safety Coordinators are being withdrawn from their daily tasks in rural areas to perform service at roadblocks that will be set up on the borders of Gauteng from 1 July. Esterhuyse believes that this action could possibly lead to a gap in policing in rural areas.

Esterhuyse therefore urges farmers to show greater preparedness, vigilance and attentiveness. Liaison of suspicious persons, vehicles and movement, especially during curfew times, must be taken seriously by agricultural communities, especially where farm guard structures are established. Furthermore, FSA recommends that agricultural communities should be involved with higher visibility with regard to white / blue light patrols, especially white light patrols in their respective areas and any information should be passed on to safety representatives of agricultural associations and rural safety coordinators.

In addition to the latter, Isabel Kruger, chairperson of the Stock Theft Prevention Forum of the RPO, also says that there is a worrying increase in stock theft. The Northern Free State in particular is suffering from large numbers of livestock (more than 30) being stolen at one time. “The fact that auctions have currently been stopped by the government at Level 4 should have a significant decrease in the transport of livestock to auction houses, but this will not stop the informal demand and supply of livestock. It can also contribute to slaughters that take place on farms where meat is transported to identified outlets. ” says Kruger.

According to Jakkals le Roux, chairman of the FSA Safety Committee, there is also currently an increase in cross-border crime activities against the RSA / Lesotho border, where agricultural communities become the target of criminals from Lesotho who plunder farmers ‘livestock (sometimes more than 50 at a time) and steal other implements / products such as solar panels, etc. Further crimes such as cutting wires and farmers’ fields being set on fire are also taking place. “In the past week, copper cables from Eskom substations and MTN towers in the Clarens / Fouriesburg area were stolen and vandalized on several occasions. This creates a great safety risk for agricultural communities that have to manage without cellphone signals or electricity supply.” says Le Roux.

Free State Agriculture, on behalf of agricultural communities, makes a serious request to the SANDF and SAPS to join hands with the communities to create higher visibility in the cross-border areas that can also be accompanied by white / blue light patrols. The involvement and participation of especially younger farmers in safety structures is of cardinal importance.

Vlak 4 inperking kan tot leemte in polisiëring in landelike gebiede lei

Die aankondiging van vlak 4 Covid regulasies deur die regering, wat insluit padblokkades om Gauteng wat onder andere deur SAPD Veiligheidskoördineerders beman moet word, kan moontlik tot ‘n leemte in polisiëring in landelike gebiede lei. Vrystaat Landbou (VL) en die Rooivleis Produsente Organisasie (RPO) versoek boere daarom om ingeskakel te wees by veiligheidstrukture in hul onderskeie areas, maar veral in Noord-Vrystaat, ten einde paraatheid en sigbaarheid in die landelike gebiede daar te stel.

Tommie Esterhuyse, vise-president van VL, sê dat talle Veiligheidskoördineerders van hul daaglikse take in landelike gebiede onttrek word om diens by padblokkades te verrig wat vanaf 1 Julie op die grense van Gauteng opgestel word. Esterhuyse meen dié aksie kan moontlik tot ‘n leemte in polisiëring in landelike gebiede lei

Esterhuyse versoek boere daarom om groter paraatheid, waaksaamheid en oplettendheid aan die dag te lê. Skakeling van verdagte persone, voertuie en beweging veral gedurende aandklok moet deur landbougemeenskappe, veral waar plaaswag-strukture gevestig is, met erns hanteer word. Verder beveel VL aan dat landbougemeenskappe betrokke moet wees met hoër sigbaarheid t.o.v. wit/blou lig patrollies, veral witlig patrollies in hul onderskeie areas en enige inligting moet aan veiligheidsverteenwoordigers van landbouverenigings en landelike veiligheidskoördineerders deurgegee word.

Benewens laasgenoemde, sê Isabel Kruger, voorsitter van die Veediefstal Voorkomings-forum van die RPO, ook dat daar ’n kommerwekkende toename in veediefstal te bespeur is. Veral die Noord-Vrystaat loop erg deur waar groot getalle vee (meer as 30) op een slag gesteel word.  “Die feit dat veilings tans deur die regering op Vlak4 van inperking gestop is, behoort ‘n beduidende afname te hê op die vervoer van vee na veilingshuise, maar dit gaan nie die informele vraag en aanbod van vee stop nie.  Dit kan ook bydra tot slagtings wat op plase plaasvind waar vleis na geïdentifiseerde afsetgebiede vervoer word.” sê Kruger.

Volgens Jakkals le Roux, voorsitter van VL Veiligheidskomitee, is daar tans ook ‘n toename in oorgrens misdaad aktiwiteite teen die RSA/Lesothogrens te bespeur, waar landbougemeenskappe die teiken word van kriminele vanuit Lesotho wat boere se vee (party keer meer as 50 op ‘n slag) en ander implemente/produkte soos lekbakke, sonpanele, ens steel. Verdere misdade soos die knip van drade en boere se velde wat aan die brand gesteek word, vind ook plaas. “In die afgelope week is koperkabels van Eskom substasies en MTN torings in die Clarens/Fouriesburg area by verskeie geleenthede gesteel en gevandaliseer. Dit skep ‘n groot veiligheidsrisiko vir landbougemeenskappe wat sonder selfoonseine of elektrisiteits-voorsiening moet klaarkom.” sê Le Roux.

Vrystaat Landbou rig namens landbougemeenskappe ’n ernstige versoek aan die SANW en SAPD om hande te vat met die gemeenskappe om hoër sigbaarheid in die oorgrens areas daar te stel wat ook met wit/blou lig patrollies gepaard kan gaan. Die betrokkenheid en inskakeling van veral jonger boere by veiligheidstrukture is van kardinale belang.