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Farm killings 'not political'
Anger over more farm murders
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Cape Town - An attempt to cut back the number of farm murders was announced by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in Pretoria on Monday.
He told a rural crime conference that his department is currently reviewing its rural safety plan and that the revised plan is nearing completion.
A boost to police reserves in rural areas in planned and aspects of the plan, he said, include beefing up efficiency at rural police stations. But he also warned farmers that they need to improve relations with their own labourers.
"While at times government has no control in terms of working conditions and agreements privately entered into between the farmers and these vulnerable workers, it is an area that farmers themselves need to seriously address," he said.
He went on: "Our investigations have amongst others pointed out to the issue of labour relations having contributed to these killings.
"There had been empirical evidence that some farmers, not the majority though, hire workers from other foreign countries without proper paper documentations."
The minister also appealed to trade union representatives as well as political parties not to politicise these farm killings unnecessarily.
"To us this is crime and therefore needs to be condemned with vigour. We do not see it as a racist onslaught or politically motivated acts, but murder is murder."
He told the meeting that police recognise that rural police stations are often isolated and responsible to police vast areas.
"To address these problems we need to not only create more effective and efficient police stations," he said, "but also ensure that the local police work in partnership with both rural communities and other government departments responsible for rural development".
He said that at the end of 2009 the moratorium on the recruitment of reservists was lifted and the department is currently finalising its revised approach to address the use of reservists within the force.
"Our rural safety plan will also find ways of best utilising reservists' capacity in rural areas," he said.