The police have been called on to make a speedy arrest after farmer assaulted, set on fire
THE DA has condemned the latest attack on a farmer in the Koffiefontein district on Monday, where the farmer was assaulted and set alight by two suspects, who are still on the run.
The DA in the Free State on Tuesday condemned the incident “in the strongest terms” alongside all other attacks on farmers and their farm workers in the province.
The incident, which happened on Vandermerwesdam farm, has caused an outcry and the Free State police have been called on to make a speedy arrest.
The farmer, Andries Smith Myburgh, 31, was having lunch when he noticed smoke and went outside to investigate. He was attacked by the two suspects.
Myburgh was hit on the head with an object by one of the suspects, while the second suspect attacked him with a knife.
He was doused in petrol and set alight, but managed to fight off the attackers. He jumped into a swimming pool to douse the flames.
The suspects fled the scene and a manhunt was launched by the police. A helicopter was used in the search but the suspects were not caught and are still on the run.
The caucus chairperson of the DA in the Free State Legislature, James Letuka, stated on Tuesday that the party has been consistently vocal in calling for the Free State police to deal with the scourge of farm attacks and the lack of rural safety.
Letuka said that the DA had a “well-researched and comprehensive national rural safety strategy that, if implemented, could turn the tide against rural and cross-border crime”.
“The DA has a national farm attack monitoring group under the supervision of DA Member of Parliament Dianne Kohler Barnard with representatives in every legislature in the country. The Free State Legislature caucus representative is Leona Kleynhans who reports daily to the national structure,” elaborated Letuka.
He said that the party carried out regular oversight visits to hot spots, such as the porous Lesotho border, to highlight the issue of cross-border crime, which has a hugely detrimental economic impact on the agricultural community in the province.
“The leader of the opposition, Dr Roy Jankielsohn, has submitted a private member’s bill, the Community Policing Bill, to the Free State Legislature that it is being processed.
“This bill seeks to give the MEC responsible for policing in the province the authority to create an independent ombudsperson to investigate or channel complaints against the police to the correct institutions.
“The bill further seeks to register farm patrols and neighbourhood watches that will also allow for resources to be allocated to them and monitor crime statistics and the use of police resources in the province.”
Letuka said further that many DA public representatives in the Free State are actively part of farm patrols, fire associations and neighbourhood watches.
He also highlighted the party’s “strong stance” in the litigation against Ace Magashule and Julius Malema regarding alleged hate speech, which he indicated is awaiting a Constitutional Court judgment that will “hopefully supply clarity on the term hate speech”.
Letuka said that the DA had noted the visit of Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo to the Free State to on Tuesday talk to the family of the recently murdered Brendin Horner and local farmers.
“The DA has confronted these ministers and MECs on the issue of rural safety in Parliament and legislatures and explained what needs to be done.
“The scourge of crime in South Africa must be confronted head-on by the government, which has a constitutional duty to protect all our citizens from harm.”