Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Oct 26 2008 - South Africa’s private security services are being enlisted to do official police work in an effort by the beleaguered police to win the war against violent crime. Security guards -- although untrained in police-forensics work -- in Johannesburg’s crime-plagued northwestern suburbs will from this week — on behalf of the police — formally take charge of crime scenes at house and business robberies and hijackings if they arrive first. They will also identify and arrest suspects and take notes of evidence.
SA's 350,000 private security guards vastly outnumber its 98,000 operational police officers...
There are almost four security guards to every operational police officer in South Africa and they often arrive at crime scenes first. From the northwestern suburbs, falling under the Honeydew 'policing cluster', the project will next be rolled out to Sandton and then to Alexandra and Rustenburg.
A bit desperate isn't it?
A critical warning was sounded however by crime prevention research leader Barbara Holtmann of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, who branded the project “a bit of a desperate response” and questioned whether it would reduce crime or just displace it: “Police have a specific mandate and I’m not sure it’s a good idea to hand over parts of that mandate to people who have a private profit motive,” she said.
"Business Against Crime South Africa," which started this Private Security Alignment Initiative, is negotiating with security firms in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape to take the project there.The new crime-fighting partnership aims to make a dent in the number of “trio” crimes — business robbery, house robbery and hijacking.
Twelve security firms have signed up for the project, including household names such as ADT, Chubb, Top Security and Peaceforce. They are supplying radios and staff to man a joint control centre. The police, in turn, are providing training for the security guards on how to secure crime scenes, preserve evidence and take detailed notes. They are also taught radio protocol. Security guards involved have been vetted for criminal records.
Business Against Crime chief executive Siphiwe Nzimande said he hoped the initiative would spread to the other provinces in the first six months of 2009.The head of the SA Police Service’s Alexandra cluster of police stations, Director Theko Pharasi said the plan “multiplies the forces and strengthens the personnel so we can’t say we have any shortages”.
Commissioner Oswald Reddy, head of Honeydew, said: “These ... armed response guards are usually the first on the scene.
"Sometimes they unknowingly damage and trample on evidence. We are trying to co-ordinate activities.” The project hinges on a secure radio network that only participants in the project can access.
- In the past, Business Against Crime national project manager Lorinda Nel said, criminals listened in on the police radio network.
- Residents or businesses under attack will now be aided by the nearest armed security guard or police officer — regardless of whether they are paid-up clients of a security company.
Roy Rawlins, managing director of ADT in Johannesburg, said the participating security companies were not worried that their clients would cancel their contracts if they were going to get services free. People would, he insisted, still sign up with security firms because of the panic buttons and patrolling services they would enjoy that non-subscribers would not.
Grahamstown High Court orders urgent ownership review of valuable 300-ha Tsitsikamma forest-village of Thornham ...
Oct 26 2008 - GRAHAMSTOWN, East Cape, South Africa. The Grahamstown High Court has ruled that a land-claim-registration, approved in 2004 by Johannes Benadé, then the land-title-register commissioner, should be urgently reviewed by a new, still to be appointed commissioner.
The land-rights issue relates to some 300 hectares of increasingly valuable communal land inside the Tsitsikamma forest -comprised of the town of Thornham (see map, about 4km from Storms River Bridge.
Some 200 Afrikaans-speaking coloured families now live in the town, and the Grahamstown High Court has ruled that 'the genuine original owners must now be urgently identified' after an application by the local residents.
The land was purchased in the late 1800s by a group of coloured families, the forebears of the current occupants, they say. However apparently their registration was never registered legally at the land-title registry during those turbulent times, when land-registration was poorly maintained.
These families must now deliver legal proof to confirm that they are the legal descendants of these original purchasers, the court has ruled.
The entire Eastern Cape Tsitsikamma ("Place of Abundant Waters" in the San language of South Africa's First Nation) at the Storms River has become very valuable real estate because of its high popularity ratings among holiday-makers and eco-tourists who flock to the beautiful oceanside region with its dramatic landscapes and dramatic forest canopy.
Thornham (left in background).
Their local residents' legal representative Daniël Combrink jr. submitted to the Court that Benadé 's original decision in 2004 had been 'irregular, since the community was never informed about the legal search for the original, rightful owners.' He had thus assigned the land-registration rights to the wrong people, the residents maintain.
Chairman of the Thornham community property assocation Henrico Bruiners said he was very pleased with the High Court order. "A lot of time is going to be wasted investigating our land-rights claim, because basically everybody here has rights to this property,' he said - referring to its historic communal status, which is a very typical feature of many of South Africa's coloured Afrikaans-speaking communities like these.
Background: Similar communal land-rights problems have also arisen in other areas of South Africa occupied by the coloured Afrikaans-speaking descendants of freed slaves. Many of these slaves -- often skilled artisans -- formed into organised family groups and undertaken their own Great Trek, similar to the white Afrikaner-Boers, established farmers and artisans, to get away from British colonial suppression and seek independence-rights for themselves.
- While the Boers always used individual land-rights registration systems very similar to the one used in The Netherlands and Germany in their independent Boer Republics, these descendants of their freed slaves instead set up communal towns, trekking as far away as Namibia's border with Angola. They followed the communal-land rights systems of their forefathers (such as the Java- and Moluccan islands in modern-day Indonesia, former Dutch colonies, but also of local black tribes they integrated with.)
The Tsitsikamma region stretches from the Bloukrans River in the west to Eerste Rivier in the east, is bordered on the north by the imposing Tsitsikamma mountains and in the south by the Indian Ocean. The area is covered in large tracts of indigenous forest, commercial plantation and Fynbos ground cover.
Deep river gorges cleft the plateau as they make their way down to the sea, creating spectacular waterfalls and deep kloofs.
- The Great Trek diary of Anna Steenkamp: http://www.groottrek.co.za/anna_01.htm
Farm family attacked by Zulu gang shouting 'let's kill them now...'
Seven armed Zulu men walked into the farm-house of Mr and Mrs Roosenveldt and their son James, who were just finishing dinner on Tuesday evening. Half the attackers were shouting "let’s kill them now", and the others were saying "we’re not here for that" in Zulu. During the following three-hour ordeal of terror, the family had to listen to these terrifying words while they were beaten up and abused in their home on the Roseberry Farm outside White River.
The seven-member male gang carried guns, knives and a large monkey wrench. "They were extremely aggressive and terribly rude," said Ms Roosenveldt.
The suspects, all wearing balaclavas, found her in the kitchen at around 20:30, grabbed her and her husband, and trussed him up so tightly that after two and a half hours his hands and feet were going black. James was in his room and they found him only 20 minutes later.
The thieves repeatedly beat the boy on his head with their guns, and then dragged his mother from room to room, looking for guns, jewellery and money.
The ordeal dragged on for close on three hours, with the attackers getting drunk on beer and shouting in Zulu that they should kill the family now."Some of the attackers, who were all very young, didn’t like that and said they were not here for that, they also didn’t like the beatings."
After slapping the son around some more, they tied him and his mother up, using electrical cord and proceeded to trash the place. They stole electrical appliances, put them in the family’s white VW Polo and drove off.
- Hi-Tech Security White River got an alarm at approximately 23:00 and raced to the scene, cutting off all possible escape routes, but the suspects were nowhere to be found. Captain Erhard Ströh of the White River Police said they were investigating an armed robbery case but also noted that 'no one had been seriously injured during the incident."
The family is now staying with friends until the house has been properly secured. "Both Hi-Tech and Maxi Security have been so helpful, and so have the community," said the Roosenveldts.
Source: Crime Busters of South Africa