As the National Assembly gathers to debate the scourge of recent farm attacks, the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, has condemned the murder of a KwaZulu-Natal couple on their farm in New Castle.
Didiza urged members of the public to come forward with information which may lead to the arrest of the suspects who committed the “barbaric act” in which Glen and Vida Rafferty were gunned down by attackers on Sunday evening.
In a media statement, Didiza said, “Farmers play a vital role in the agricultural sector and the agro-processing value chain, to ensure sustainable food production and food security for the country and the continent at large.”
She called on law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in apprehending and arresting the perpetrators, and asked stakeholders involved in government’s rural safety strategy to double their efforts in ensuring the safety of farmers and their workers.
In July, during his 2020-2021 budget vote speech, police minister Bheki Cele also spoke out against increasing attacks in the country’s farming communities. He said the work of the reviewed national rural safety strategy was operationalised and provided for rural safety priority committees to function at national, provincial, district and station levels.
“This strategy,” the minister stated, “also empowers all role players in the rural and farming community, departmental and civil society, to get involved in the committees. We remain concerned about the attacks on the country’s rural communities. We believe a holistic approach to attacks on farms will go a long way in enhancing rural safety.”
Today’s debate on farm attacks will be led by the DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard. She said, “The (covid-19) lockdown laid bare the desperate challenges in safety and policing in rural South Africa as well as the lack of care and action on the part of the ANC government to address this crisis.”