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South Africa: Policing in Rural Areas Set to Improve
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 28, 2014

Thuynsma said he was feeling better and was able to eat after getting medical attention, although he struggled with his speech.

“My wife died three months ago, so I’m staying alone,” Thuynsma said, speaking to the Minister.

Rural safety strategy

Minister Nhleko said government will roll out a rural safety strategy to address the increasing number of farm murders and related crimes.

“The strategy will include stop-and-search campaigns, roadblocks, farm visits and issues of compliance,” said Minister Nhleko.

He said by October the Police Ministry together with Community Policing Forum (CPF) will make an assessment to outline gaps that need interventions.

“We can’t do it alone as police. We need communities to participate, including NGOs and CPFs,” Minister Nhleko added.

Ralie Groenewald’s case

Minister Nhleko also visited a widow of a farmer who was murdered in his Boschkop farm house, in May this year.

Ralie Groenewald was still emotional and mourning her husband’s death when Minister Nhleko visited her.

She shared her pain with the Minister and other guests.

“The guy was strangling me… he just jumped on me and strangled me. The other went through in just seconds, I heard gun shots,” Groenwald, seemingly in her 80s, said with tears in her eyes.

“My husband was sick, but he slept with his revolver under the pillow. When he [the attacker] came in, I heard a shot… only one shot, I think they shot each other at the same time,” she said.

Groenewald said only after the shooting the other attacker let go of her and ran away.

She lived in the house with her husband for about 28 years, but she said she was considering selling as she feared for her safety.

“This is such a beautiful house, my husband built it with his own hands,” said Groenewald.

Minister Nhleko was consoling her and informed her that the police had a plan to improve safety on farms.

Major-General Tebello Mosikili said four people were arrested for Groenewald’s husband murder.

Police investigations continue

She said since January this year, five cases of farm murders have been reported to police.

“Out of the five cases, only one is going to court… it has already been postponed for the High Court. Four people were arrested, one suspect who was part of the group died from a crossfire between attackers and victims,” said Mosikidi, who is also the Deputy Provincial Commissioner for detectives.

Mosikili said police investigation revealed that the bullet that killed the suspect was from one of his team members.

With regard to other four cases, Mosikili said investigations were continuing.

“The crime intelligence is working on all the cases. There’s one double-murder case, where a man and his wife were killed… it is being investigated by a provincial team,” she said.

Mosikili said there were possible leads to the four cases and suspects will be identified.

On Thuynsma’s case, she said police still needed information from him and were waiting for him to recover. “The victim was staying alone, hence we don’t have someone to shed light on this case,” she said.

Mosikili said modus operandi used in Boschkop and Bronkhorstspruit crimes was the same.

“It is four to six African males…Majority of the cases are African males,” said Mosikili.

Police partner with CPF

Boschkop police said they formed a partnership with CPF in their community and Bronkhorstspruit, Cullinan, Ekangala and Welbekend.

CPF Cluster Chairperson Charmaine Ras, who is in charge of the branches mentioned above, said Boschkop police station was under resourced and that made it difficult for police to do their job.

“There is nine vehicles at the garage, that are not serviceable ... this is a huge challenge for police in our area.

“The vehicles that we currently have in the station are not fit for the roads in this area, they can only patron in the main road,” Ras said.

Other members involved in a fight against crime said the Boschkop police station was short of detectives, as it had only nine when they needed 17.

Afri-Forum Chairman, Dawie Badenhorst, said in the last month only there were about 28 hijackings in Boschkop.

“The community is angry and they say if police cannot sort this matter out, they will sort it out themselves,” Badenhorst said.

He called for police intervention before the matter got out of hand.
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