LEPHALALE — Maj Gen Jan Scheepers, the Deputy Provincial Commissioner, visited Lephalale on Thursday 28 September and he addressed the community on rural community safety at Mogol Club.
He said that Lephalale has been identified as a hot spot for farm attacks and violent crimes. “For crimes to be committed you need the opportunity, a victim and a perpetrator. We need to raise awareness regarding criminal activities. My appeal is to everyone to work together and cooperate with SAPS against this enemy of crime – to remove the victims and reduce the opportunities or the elements required for a crime to take place in the first place. We need to stay on our knees before God to pray for our safe living” he said.
He said that it is a reality check for everyone that the police alone cannot protect you. “There have never been sufficient resources and there never will be. We must take hands and work together to solve the problems we face. The state of the country’s economy is such that more and more people are losing their work – therefore farms become a target because on farms there is game and livestock for food, and equipment. All over the world political instability leads to an increase of crime on farms” he continued.
According to Maj Gen Scheepers, the first thing that needs to be done, is to root out ineffective SAPS members. He said no-one should keep quiet about inefficiencies and bad service and if you think you are not adequately assisted by the police, you must immediately report it to the Station Commander. If he cannot assist you satisfactorily, it should be reported to the Cluster Commander. If you still don’t have success, you can report it to Maj Gen Scheepers, the Deputy Provincial Commissioner.
He furthermore emphasized that farmers need to learn to support each other because by living far apart and divided, we play directly into the criminal’s hands.
He said a plan has been put together to move forward in the fight against farm attacks. “We have to take on the responsibility and join hands to find a solution. The Rural Safety Plan needs to be rolled out to each and every farmer so that we can build a working relationship together. It takes a man to find solutions to problems rather than to just point fingers” he said.
According to Scheepers, the solutions lie in communication and preventative measures.
As a start, you have to spend time developing a relationship with your SAPS members and learn to understand each other, Scheepers said.
“The CPF is the mother body and is written into the police act – you have to be part of the legal structure. Know your neighbour and know what is going on, on his land. Security starts with yourself. You are responsible for your own safety” he concluded.
Safety tips as provided by Maj Gen Scheepers are as follows:
• Have a plan in your own house as to what procedure to follow in case of an attack so that you can defend yourself and your family properly. DRILL the procedure into yourself! Don’t try and be a hero – they end up dead. Think and be prepared to live for your family rather than die for them.
• Make use of modern technology as an early warning system – beams, cameras etc that alert you to unwanted activities around your house. Be careful who you use to install such systems. To train up youngsters within the community to offer such a service is a good idea.
• Have small dogs in your house
• Keep a track record of people who move on and off your farm.
• If you employ foreigners – they must be in the country legally. This is imperative. DO NOT EMPLOY ILEGAL IMMIGRANTS! As SAPS then have no record of them, no finger prints and no way of finding them. They commit crimes, flee home, only to return to repeat the crime.
• Have a good relationship with your staff. Be careful if you have fired a staff member. Keep your neighbours informed of your staff activities/employment etc.
• Be observant. Check your yard’s fences. If your dogs bark at night – do not go out of your house. They shoot you as your go out in your attempt to protect your family.
• Land invasions are politically motivated at the moment. Report them to the SAPS immediately – for if you take longer than 24 hours to report it – SAPS will not remove them. Deal with it immediately to save yourself a lot of time, money and headaches.
• REPORT CRIME – however petty. There are 102 SAPS stations in Limpopo. Resources get allocated according to crime stats. Report crime so that they get seen by SAPS.
Maj Gen Scheepers recommended that each area should develop a plan with their local SAPS. He said the plan should be area specific but the guidelines from the Provincial level plan should be used and taken to the communities.
Important contact numbers:
Deputy Provincial Commissioner: Policing – Maj Gen Scheepers – 082 410 9818;
Cluster Commander – Brig. John Masia – 082 319 9285;
Station Commander – Lt Col Daniel Ramakgoakgoa – 082 414 2724;
VISPOL – Capt. Mabila – 082 414 3215;
Detective Commander – Capt. Hlungwani – 082 565 7968;
Lephalale SAPS mobile number 079 889 6247.