The DA in North West yesterday wrote to the National Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Fannie Masemola, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, requesting an urgent mobilisation of a SAPS Special Task Team, to investigate an embedded stock theft crime syndicate operating throughout the Kagisano Molopo District Municipality, which may have compromised the local police. (See letters here and here)
This stock theft crime syndicate has been terrorising the community for more than 12 years, stealing and poisoning livestock, illegally accessing farms, arson, general intimidation, and threatening the lives of any individual who dare to speak out.
Numerous cases have been opened with the SAPS over the 12-year period, but the Kagisano Molopo SAPS dragged their feet at every step of the way. The alleged crime syndicate boss is a known individual and has been recorded on video footage repeatedly yet remains free to continue his reign of terror on the community.
On Sunday another incident of cattle poisoning took place on the farm, Good Hope. When the victim, Mr Okkie Goosen, attempted to open a case with the Bray Police Station, he found the police station closed. The alleged crime syndicate boss also sent a threatening voice message to him. (WARNING: Graphic Content – see videos here, here and here)
A closed police station indicates that the SAPS in this district has no intention to serve and protect the community, to prevent crime, and where criminality takes place, to investigate properly. Considering the poor performance of the SAPS over this 12-year-long reign of terror to bring these criminals to book, we believe that the Kagisano Molopo SAPS has been compromised by this crime syndicate as we have seen in other provinces.
It is alleged that this specific stock theft crime syndicate also operates in the Free State and Limpopo.
The National Police Commissioner must mobilise a special task team, deployed from outside of the North West, to investigate whether the local SAPS has been compromised and closely scrutinise the case backlog implicating this crime syndicate. The SAPS should also deploy additional units to improve visibility around targeted farms and communities and conduct a threat assessment on individuals who have received death threats, so that additional protection can be made available to them, again deployed from outside the province.
It is unacceptable that farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities must battle crime on their own without the support of the police, and both the North West provincial and national government. It is unacceptable that rural communities, farmers, farmworkers, and their families are terrorised by organised crime in this manner while they must endure a harsh climate, load-shedding, drought, floods, destructive veld fires, high input costs and a poor economic outlook to produce food for South Africans.
The DA expects National Police Commissioner Lt Gen Fannie Masemola to immediately act on our request to prevent the situation from escalating further and to protect the lives, livelihoods, and property of this community.