FF Plus Pieter Groenewald Apaetheid crime against humanity

Image: TheSouthAfrican

FF Plus call for neighbourhood watch groups to operate during lockdown

The FF Plus have called for neighbourhood watch groups to operate during the lockdown, citing concerns over farm attacks and livestock theft.

FF Plus Pieter Groenewald Apaetheid crime against humanity

Image: TheSouthAfrican

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) have called for neighbourhood watch groups in rural areas and smaller communities to be allowed to operate during the nationwide lockdown. 

Groups, such as the Drankenstein Farm Watch (DFW), have been instructed to cease and desist from community support during the lockdown, as they don’t serve an “essential service”.

“We are not allowed to further offer fire and rescue services and humanitarian aid, nor aid with accidents and incidents for the period of the coronavirus lock-down,” said DFW general commander Daan van Leeuwen Boomkamp.

“We are unfortunately — and much to our disbelief — not seen as an essential service provider to the rural area and farming community.”

Prohibiting groups is ‘incomprehensible’ 

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald has said that the increase in crime over the lockdown period was a stark justification for such groups to operate at full capacity. 

“The disconcerting increase in criminal activities makes it a matter of urgency to allow neighbourhood and farm watches to start functioning normally again to strengthen the hand of the police force in fighting crime,” he said in a statement on Tuesday 14 April. 

“The FF Plus finds it incomprehensible that Police Minister Bheki Cele does not want to accept help from neighbourhood and farm watches while they function as the eyes and ears of the police and there is a good working relationship between them and the police.”

He pointed out that private security companies were authorised to operate, but that neighbourhood watch groups were not so lucky. 

“The lockdown regulations make provision for formal security companies to continue functioning, but not for neighbourhood and farm watches and, thus, the FF Plus requested that the regulations be amended in this regard.”

Concern over farms  

Groenewald said that farm attacks and livestock theft were already a dire concern for residents in isolated rural areas, and warned that there may be a spike in such incidents should they not be protected by their communities. 

“The FF Plus is worried that farm attacks may possibly increase seeing as rural safety structures and/or farm watches play a significant role in preventing such incidents and also make it more difficult for attackers and criminals to flee the scene of a crime.

“There is already an increase in livestock theft and the theft of grain products still standing in the fields.

“Much of the police force’s energy and time is spent on enforcing the measures that were implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Thus, the police force needs all the help it can get and so the FF Plus has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently address the matter.”