The local government is calling for a rural safety unit to be established following the brutal murder of Stellenbosch farmer Stefan Smit (62). The wine farmer was shot in his home on Sunday evening and died as a result.
As reported by News24, Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said that the department is dismayed and shocked by the news. “I don’t think we can sit back when there is an attack on farmers. I am deeply concerned about the impact on the economy and about safety in rural areas,” he said.
According to Meyer, he and Stellenbosch mayor Gesie Van Deventer and Safety MEC Albert Fritz had met on Monday to strategize on an immediate course of action, which may include meeting with the province’s police commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula, Police Minister Bheki Cele and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The meetings were held to establish why there is no rural safety initiative in the Western Cap, despite nearly a decade of promises that one would be formed and implemented. The Department of Agriculture has made the decision to deny all bail applications related to farm murders.
Fritz emphasised that he does not want the public under the impression that his department of safety is calling for action because of this specific incident alone, but rather because of the recent slew of violent incidents across the province. A 12-year-old boy was gunned down in Uitsig recently, while a 14-year-old girl was killed in Worcester.