At the commencement of the 2009 term of government, Rural Safety was confirmed as one of the priorities of the Free State provincial government. The Provincial Rural Safety Forum, in which the Department participates with other relevant stakeholders, has formulated the Provincial Rural Safety Strategy and tabled it for consideration by the JCPS cluster and the provincial Executive Council. The strategy will inform programmes to address safety and security challenges in the farms. The forum meets on a quarterly basis to address the day-to-day crime problems experienced by the farming community and it has resolved to engage in a program to encourage farm workers and farmers to join in as reservists.
Reduce Cross-Border Crimes
One of the initiatives that support the improvement of rural safety, is to address cross-border crimes. The cross-border Crime Prevention Forum, which meets on a monthly basis, developed a programme to address the problem of human trafficking between the Free State and Lesotho. The forum comprises of stakeholders from both Lesotho and the Free State.
An overview of activities conducted in the Free State is as follows;
Roadblocks are conducted by the traffic officers and the South African Police Service (SAPS). These have been conducted at the N1 Kroonstad and Edenburg, at the N8 at Petrusburg and also in the areas of QwaQwa and Kestell. Information pamphlets are issued to motorists by other officials and volunteers who participate in the programme.
Human trafficking awareness activitieshave been held Ficksburg and Ladybrand. These awareness activities involve stakeholders from both the Free State Province and Lesotho.
Anti-Stock Theft Operations
Joint operations are conducted by the SAPS and the Lesotho National Police Service in their respective areas of operation. Stock-theft hot spot areas were identified and various operations have been conducted, including:
- Zastron/Mahaleshoek operation
- Qwa-Qwa/Mokhotlong operation
- Festive Operations which focus on the general problems of cross boarder crime.
Cooperation with Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality
The Department and the Malut-a-Phofung Local Municipality nave joined forces in launching an Anti-Stock Theft Patroller’s project. An appropriate all-terrain vehicle to be used for patrols was made available by the Department whilst the Municipality undertook to provide bullet-proof vests to patrollers. Another aspect of the cooperation programme between the Department and the municipality relates to the installation of CCTV-cameras along the border of Lesotho and QwaQwa. The Department made an amo0unt of R10 million available to the municipality to facilitate and implement the project.