DA calls for restoration of rural safety units as another Free State farmer is murdered

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The Democratic Alliance on Sunday called for the immediate restoration of special rural safety units as another Free State farmer was murdered.

“The DA is concerned by the heinous murder of yet another farmer in the Free State, Mr Johannes Mazibuko, an emerging farmer from Frankfort. Mr Mazibuko was murdered on the farm Waterkant on Thursday,” DA spokeswoman Mariette Pittaway said.

In 2003, former president Thabo Mbeki announced that the commandos were to be disbanded and was supported by the then minister of defence Mosiuoa Lekota and then police commissioner Jackie Selebi. Lekota also described the commando units as “apartheid-established”. The DA vehemently objected to the disbandment of the commandos and voted against it, she said.

Ironically, in 1998, former president Nelson Mandela included the commandos in a rural security plan, and “encouraged farmers, especially white farmers, to join the commandos and help in rural protection”, Pittaway said.

The DA had repeatedly called on government to establish specialised rural safety units within the South African Police Service (SAPS) to improve safety and security in rural areas.

In April this year, the DA in the Free State handed over a memorandum to the Free State police commissioner requesting the establishment of a specialised rural safety unit. In June, the DA launched a national campaign on rural safety and was driving a petition to urge President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the protection of rural communities.

The DA in the Free State legislature submitted a “Community Policing Bill” last month that it believed would assist in fighting crime, improve oversight over the SAPS, and ensure a better working relationship with communities through mutual support, she said.

“The DA extends our heartfelt condolences to family and friends of the Mr Mazibuko. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. The DA will not stop fighting at every level of government to bring about much needed change in strategy to protect our rural communities, especially farmers and farmworkers,” Pittaway said.

– African News Agency (ANA)