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Rural safety in crisis

James Vos, recently appointed MP for the Stellenbsoch area, on Monday 25 June met with local representatives of the South African Police Service to discuss crime fighting interventions.

The visit came at a time when murder, drugs and gang-related crimes are on the rise in the greater Stellenbosch area.

“The Democratic Alliance has called on national government numerous times to prioritise and fast track rural safety units in order to protect our rural communities, who because of their isolated location are vulnerable and become targets,” Vos said.

“Sadly, this comes shortly after another member of the farming community, Jeffrey Zetler, lost his life in a fatal attack.”

He said he had visited a number of police stations over the past few weeks and found they are struggling.

“In some cases, there aren’t enough vehicles to patrol our communities and the allocation of manpower showed a shortage of 30 officers across the whole municipality, according to a parliamentary question submitted to the national police minister,” Vos said.

“I’ve met with members of the Cloetesville community, who told me how shootings have increased while the gangs run their drug operations among the families living there.

“Children are no longer safe to play outside and after 18:00 it becomes simply too dangerous to be in the streets. We need specialised units to target drug and gang related crimes.”

Vos said by ignoring the call for increased policing in local communities national government is ignoring the safety of the people who have placed their trust in them.

“I will once again write to the National Police Commissioner imploring that more police resources be allocated to this area, and to implement rural safety units now, and increase the resources and manpower to our most vulnerable communities — farmworkers and farmers.

“We will not rest until the national government takes active steps to keep communities safe,” Vos said.

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