Farm Attacks - Time to Act
The debate on motives for farm attacks has been one of the
most newsworthy subjects of the past year. A lot of energy has
been consumed by this debate.
The time has come to work together towards a solution. The
Security Forces have a plan in a place called the Rural
Protection Plan (RPP). Although not yet perfect, it is proving
to be effective in certain areas.
It is a fact that in areas where the farming community
support the Plan and is actively involved in it and is working
with the Security Forces, farm attacks are very low. This has to
indicate that the Plan does prevent perpetrators from attacking,
and that’s what South Africa needs!
The object of the RPP is to protect the farming communities
including those living on smallholdings. The RPP is based on the
involvement of all possible role-players concerned with rural
safety and is structured to coordinate all these role-players in
terms of joint planning, operational activities, preventative
measures, monitoring and training.
It should also be borne in mind that the decision to
integrate the RPP with Operation Akantus II, did not bring about
the end of the plan. To the contrary, not only does the Plan
continue to exist as part of the Operation, but its inclusion
into the Operation enables more effective control of the Plan.
The RPP comprises of two main legs, Home and Hearth
Protection and Area Bound Reaction Forces.
Lets face it – whatever the motives – these attacks must
STOP! The only way in which to stop them is to prevent them. We
need to be more pro-active in our way of thinking and in our
Here are a few tips on Home and Hearth protection which can
also be applicable in urban areas.
Written by : Supt. C E Muller
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Physical Protection Measures
- A fence around the house with lockable gates is better
than a high wall due to the advantage of visibility. Razor
wire, barbed wire, empty tins or bells can be attached to the
fence to increase the early-warning capability. Remember that
gates must be kept locked.
- Security gates with sturdy locks in front of each outer
door as well as burglarproofing covering each window. Keep
security gates locked at all times.
- A security gate inside the house dividing the sleeping
quarters from the rest of the house could prove vital in the
event of physical penetration of the house. The emergency
communication system should preferably be installed in this
- Firearms must at all times be readily accessible and where
possible be carried on the person. Ensure that weapons are
always serviceable and that the handler is qualified to use
- A siren/alarm on the roof with a few switches in the house
can be heard over a long distance if other communication
methods fail. It is important to test these devices regularly
and to ensure that they can be heard over long distances.
Guard dogs and geese are a good warning system. Keep them
locked in close to the house so that strangers cannot get to
Early Warning Signs
- Strangers present in, or strolling about the area without
any apparent reason.
- Strange vehicles making use of farm roads or even camping
in the area. Look out for foreign tracks.
- Deviations from the norm in employees’ behaviour.
Abnormally high consumption or purchase of foodstuffs by
employees. Change in the behaviour of current employees soon
after the hiring of a new employee.
- The unexplainable death of a watchdog.
- Be on the lookout for evidence of the presence of
intruders, e.g. empty bottles or tins, cartridge cases, paper
remnants, torn off buttons, torn off material, foot or shoe
prints, burnt out fires at apparent camp sites, waterholes and
river beds, remnants of meals, cigarette butts, empty boxes,
excrement, string etc.
- The theft of food, fuel, livestock and game.
- Strangers visiting your premises for apparently good
reasons and then trying to make unobtrusive observations.
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Some Good Security Habits
- Stand by your rights as owner of your farm. Strangers
entering the farm or visiting labourers should first obtain
your permission. Liaise with your local SAPS or Agricultural
Union station on what the Law allows you to do and how you
must apply this on your farm.
||Establish good relationships with workers.
||Keep copies of all ID documents of
||Encourage all workers to be alert on
security matters and to report all crime.
||Remunerate your workers for useful hints
||Consider the organising of workers in a
type of farm watch system and, with the co-operation of
the Security Forces, provide them with relevant training.
- Do not allow anybody on your farmyard or in your house
without having properly identified them, especially at night.
- All implements which could be used as weapons should be
kept locked away when not in use.
- Remove keys from all vehicles when not in use.
- When you leave the house, make it a habit to inform your
family of your intended destination, the route and when you
- Test your telephone regularly to ensure that it is in
working condition. Have the telephone installed in a place
that is easily accessible from anywhere in the house, and that
is not vulnerable to gunfire directed at or through windows.
Make certain that alternative communication is always
- Keep tight control over your keys to prevent duplication.
- Always keep a torch at hand during the night and when
using a torch make sure that it does not disclose your
- Take precautions against theft of fuel and supplies.
- Vary your daily routine.
- Make a habit not to go to sleep immediately after
switching off the lights at night. Remain awake for a while.
Don’t sleep in a place where you are visible from the outside.
- Don’t stand in front of windows when opening and closing
curtains. Move with the curtain so as not to present yourself
as a target.
- Take photographs and fingerprints of all employees. Even
if these are not used, they are a good deterrent.
- Regular target practice on the farm (within the safety
measures naturally) is also a good deterrent to any would-be
- Inform your children of the correct procedure when
answering the telephone as well as avoiding conversation with
strangers or accepting presents from strangers.
- Think – do not panic. Control is your first line of
- Assess the situation – is there someone close-by? Make as
much noise as possible.
- It is not recommended that you resist an attacker unless
it will enable you to escape AT THAT MOMENT.
- Should you instinctively resist, do not hold back. You
must injure your attacker. Immobilise your attacker by means
of self-defence techniques until help arrives or you are able
- If it is not possible to resist, concentrate on
identification marks. Take note of the attacker’s age, height,
hair colour, eyes, scars, other obvious physical features,
clothing, speech and patterns of behaviour.
- Try to leave as much proof as possible around the scene of
the attack such as fingerprints, handkerchiefs, jewellery or
any other form of identification.
- Potential victims have escaped attack by engaging in
effective communication with their attackers (talking your way
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