'Rural crime is economic sabotage'

THE rise in crime in rural areas could derail the government's rural development policy, AgriSA said yesterday.

THE rise in crime in rural areas could derail the government's rural development policy, AgriSA said yesterday.

"If we do not curb the wave of crime in rural areas ... the strategy for rural development ... is doomed," said Andre Botha of AgriSA's rural safety committee.

Botha was speaking after receiving a presentation from the police on safety and security in rural areas.

"It is worrying. The onslaught in rural areas is escalating," he said, adding that from April last year to the end of March this year crime resulted in a net loss of R365million.

"Crimes in rural areas is economic sabotage," Botha said.

He condemned politicians who made comments which he described as bordering on hate speech.

Botha did not elaborate on specific examples, but said the comments divided communities.

He said some officials made comments that empowered people to break the law.

He said AgriSA would consult with the national and provincial governments to improve the situation. - Sapa

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