The issue of what steps have been taken to curb farm killings came to the fore in KwaZulu-Natal this week after a woman was shot dead in a home robbery in Rosetta, Mooi River, on Tuesday.
Following the incident, which The Witness said left 65-year-old Patricia “Trish” Vause-Taylor with a fatal bullet wound to the chest, DA MPL Chris Pappas accused the Department of Agriculture of not taking appropriate steps to curb farm violence.
“The DA has written to both the MEC and chairperson of KZN’s agriculture portfolio committee on four different occasions to request an urgent meeting to address the specific issue of rural safety. To date, we have received no response whatsoever.”
Pappas said he had also written to Agriculture MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi with several suggestions on how to improve safety in rural areas.
“The MEC has also failed to either acknowledge or respond to these communications. It is unacceptable that the very MEC and portfolio committee which are supposed to address matters such as this remain silent.”
Pappas added: “This is not only an issue of lives being lost – it is also one that affects food security and economic stability in our province.”
The head of department for agriculture, Siza Sibande, said farm killings should never be condoned.
“The people that do this work drive investment and put food on the table for us all.”
Sibande claimed Sithole-Moloi’s office had only received a letter from Pappas on Tuesday following the incident.
“The department has not received anything before from the DA. The MEC was not aware of previous complaints.”
Sibande said he would, however, try to locate Pappas’ letters.
“I have asked a team to ask the MEC to give us an update on those complaints. I will see who those complaints were forwarded to. But again, the MEC was not aware of previous complaints.”
He added that the Department of Community Safety and the premier’s office had been working on security and farmers.
“As the department, we give farmers support. We are, however, very concerned with these safety issues.”
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Vause-Taylor was attacked by two unknown males who robbed her of cash and televisions before fleeing in her vehicle.
“A case of murder and robbery was opened at Mooi River police station for investigation.”