The Western Cape MEC for Agriculture Ivan Meyer has announced that an inter-ministerial committee for rural safety hopes to use technology to curb attacks and murders on farms in the province.

“These structures incorporate key stakeholders involved in overseeing an integrated response on rural safety,” he said, as reported by IOL. “The technical committee headed by Darryl Jacobs, deputy director-general at the provincial Department of Agriculture, has developed a comprehensive joint plan which incorporates the tracking of farm attacks through a spatial dashboard and using the trend analysis to identify the rural crime hot spots for appropriate deployment.”

“Key elements of the provincial plan include improving rural safety plans for farms, improving relationships with the farming and rural community, and establishing a system that will address crime in rural areas,” Meyer added. “The provincial cabinet approved the inter-ministerial committee on rural safety, as well as the technical committee. SAPS and the criminal justice system are central to the successful roll-out of the plan. At the same time, the court-watching brief unit has been instrumental in strengthening the arm of prosecutors through advice and advocacy.”

He also aded that the province is already “steaming ahead” with the implementation of a rural safety plan.

“Fifty percent of all South African exports go to the African continent. Therefore, we must understand that if we kill farmers and farmworkers in South Africa, we are creating food insecurity and political instability on the African continent,” he said.

Andricus van der Westhuizen, who is the Chairperson for the legislature’s Standing Committee on Agriculture, said the setting up of an inter-departmental committee is a “great step forward for farmers”.

“This is an effort to provide much-needed assistance in terms of safety to farms as the number of attacks and murders have escalated,” he said.

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