Western Cape Agriculture hosts Rural Safety Summit
On Tuesday, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer hosted a Rural Safety Summit at Goudini in Rawsonville.
The event was attended by Agri Western Cape, African Farmer’s Association of South Africa (AFASA), the Prestige Agri-Workers Forum, the South African Police Service (SAPS), representatives from Farm and Neighbourhood Watches, District Municipalities, and senior officials from the Departments of Agriculture and Community Safety.
Addressing the Summit Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer said:
“The Summit creates the platform to share information on existing rural safety initiatives policy responses toward improved rural safety and explore the latest technologies and innovation on rural safety 4 IR as an opportunity.”
Agriculture & agri processing contributes to 11% of Western Cape GDP. Primary Agriculture employs 187 951 of the Western Cape’s workers and agri processing a further 191 751. This represents 14,4% of all jobs in the Province and almost 20% of the RSA’s agri workforce.
Meyer: “Today’s summit reflects our commitment to building safer rural communities in the Western Cape.”
Meyer continues: “The Western Cape Government has institutionalised rural safety in its architecture by establishing an Inter-Ministerial Cabinet Committee and a Provincial Technical Committee on Rural Safety. This decision is supported by the recommendation captured in the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Baseline Survey on Crime in the Rural areas of the Western Cape, which calls for efficient and urgent political will to implement the National Rural Safety Plan.”
Participants thanked the Western Cape Government for supporting rural safety. Many highlighted the need to address the socio-economic problem of unemployment, poverty, and social ills such as alcohol and drug abuse and gender-based violence.
Agri Western Cape’s Uys van der Westhuizen:
“Agri crime costs South Africa approximately R5.7 billion per annum. This money could have created 136 871 employment opportunities instead. The sector is tasked with ensuring food security. Fulfilling this task is being bedevilled by crime. The high level of unemployment is not helping. Operationalise the National Rural Safety Strategy, which is reflected in the Western Cape’s Rural Safety Plan. We also need an effective reservist plan, an efficient crime intelligence capability.”
AFASA’s Ismail Motala:
“We support any initiatives aimed at reducing rural crime as it impacts our farming businesses. However, rural safety initiatives must be supported by programmes to tackle social ills such as unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, and gender-based violence. Rural safety is about the farmer and the agri-worker. All our efforts will be pointless if we do not have the buy-in of our communities.”
Wimpie Paulse, chairperson of the Western Cape Agri-workers Forum:
“Crime threatens the agri-workers ability to care for themselves and their children. Therefore, we support any project aimed at dealing with crime. However, we must adopt an inclusive approach to dealing with rural safety while at the same time addressing the challenge of unemployment and reducing the social ills in our communities. Perhaps we should not only be problem solvers but rather creators of possibilities for our youth.”
Minister Meyer used the opportunity to officially launch the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Rural Safety Desk, Rural Safety Digital Dashboard, Rural Safety Brochure, Rural Safety Pocket Guide and release the Rural Safety Baseline Study Survey.
Meyer: “These products are a result of the partnership and collaboration between the Western Cape Government, Agri Western Cape, AFASA, SAPS, neighbourhood and farm watches, District Municipalities and agri-workers.”
Minister Meyer also highlighted that the Western Cape Government’s Safety Plan adopted a whole of society approach to the issue of rural safety.
“Addressing the multiple contributors to crime and violence will only be achieved if we enhance collaboration between all stakeholders. It is for this reason that we are pursuing a Whole-of-Society Approach, marked by critical and strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including public, private and civil society,” concludes Meyer.
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer
Tel: 079 990 4231