The seriousness of continued attacks against the farming community in South Africa and the urgency of confronting the issue have led previous President Mandela to host a Rural Safety Summit on 10 October 1998 to formulate a comprehensive strategy to deal with the problem. The summit aimed at achieving consensus around a process to deal with the issue of rural crime as well as the strengthening of strategies. This culminated in the development and establishment of the Rural Protection Plan. This Plan has since been replaced by the National Rural Safety Strategy. The strategy aims at amongst others, to involve community participation in combating crime.
One of the resolutions of the aforementioned summit was that organised agriculture amongst others must co-operate where possible and appropriate in mobilising resources to meet identified needs aimed at enhancing rural safety. Shortly after the summit in February 1999, Agri SA established the Agri Securitas Trust Fund.
Aim of the Trust Fund
There are various reasons and circumstances that give rise to farm attacks and rural crime. It poses a multi-layered challenge to combat this problem and so-doing enable rural South Africa to perform to its full potential. The aim of the Trust Fund is to contribute towards rural safety and remains committed to promoting a safe and prosperous agricultural industry in South Africa by means of a positive attitude and constructive action. This aim supports the objective of the rural Safety Strategy i.e. community involvement and participation.
The Trust Fund provides financial resources to farming communities to enable them to improve their own safety as well as that of other communities living in the area. An important aspect when considering the funding of projects is the co-operation that exists between local communities and the South African Police Service. All projects that are supported must be driven within the statutory and institutional framework. Since the Trust Fund does not have executive capacity, it carries its mandate out via other organisations such as farmer associations who are members of provincial organisations affiliated to Agri SA.
The trust deed makes provision for a Board of Trustees, which must consist of no more than 12 members. As a general guideline when appointing trustees, the Board adheres to the principle that the trustee’s current professional status should be taken into account.
Members of the current Board of Trustees are: Japie Grobler (Chairman), Kiewiet Ferreira, Johannes Möller, Hans van der Merwe, André Botha, Patrick Lekota, Willie Fourie, Henrietta Schoeman, Chris du Toit, Dr Marina Muller and Dr John Williams.
The Trust Fund is registered with the Master of the High Court, Trust number 6461/01