All South Africans have an equal right to safety and security, regardless of where they might be living. This means that equal attention needs to be paid to addressing problems of crime and violence that occur outside the main urban areas.
Over half of South Africans still live in the rural areas of the country. Because of their physical isolation, together with the impoverished state in which most rural communities find themselves, they are particularly vulnerable to the rampant crime and wanton violence that all too often erupts in these areas. Amongst the many victims are members of the farming community, black and white, of whom thousands have been brutally murdered over the last two decades. In certain cases, there have been indications that these crimes were at least in part motivated by racial hatred.
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies urges that all tiers of government, from the national down to the local level, recognise the precarious position that so many South Africans in the country districts find themselves in and take all possible steps to remedy the situation. In addition to providing better-resourced and trained rural policing, this could include encouraging and facilitating grass roots community security initiatives, through which ordinary people can play a part in fighting crime and bring to justice those who perpetrate it.