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Work together to fight farm murders

Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Director-General, Mike Mlengana, says South Africans should come with workable solutions that are within the laws of the country to fight farm murders rather than pointing fingers at others.

He made the call at a Summit on farm killings, murders and stock theft, currently underway in Pretoria.

The two-day summit, which started on Thursday, forms part of the department's efforts to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of farmers and farming communities in the country.

It follows a round table discussion hosted by the department in 2016, where it was resolved that a summit with stakeholders and civil society organisations be organised to deliberate on farm killings, murders and stock theft in South Africa.

During a round table discussion, the sector stakeholders made a call for all stakeholders to have an opportunity to further engage with all sector stakeholders regarding the safety on farms.

They were encouraged to come up with approaches and mechanisms in dealing with incidents of farm killings, murders and stock theft, to further forge partnerships and work together with other government departments and stakeholders to combat brutal attacks against the farming community.

The stakeholders were also encouraged to conduct awareness on the Rural Safety Strategy, to ensure that they commit to participate in all stakeholder forums that seek to bring unity, safety and security within the sector, and find solutions to stop all forms of violence against farming community.

In his opening address, Mlengana said the on-going scourge of criminal attacks in the farming community is causing serious damages and uncertainty which may affect jobs, economic growth and food security in the sector.

This cannot be left unattended. We remain concerned about lack of stability within the farming communities as a result of farm killings and murdering and stock theft; we may fail our nation if we don't act now in fighting against any form of violence against farm owners and farm workers.

We need to ensure that we participate in all stakeholders' forum meetings that seek to bring unity, safety and security within the sector. As the Director-General, who has been assigned to lead the agricultural sector, I want to assure all stakeholders gathered here today that violence within the farming community is my serious concern because it affects stability within the sector, Mlengana said.

Condemn racism, discrimination

He also called on all stakeholders to condemn any form of racism and discrimination against any human kind, and ensure that the agricultural sector works very hard to create jobs and contribute towards Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and food security for all in our country.

This is our priority as the sector and we must work together in achieving this goal and notwithstanding the issue of safety and security within the farming communities, Mlengana said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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