DTA leadership condemns attacks on farmers

30 Jul 2015 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 30 JUL (NAMPA) - The leadership of the DTA of Namibia has expressed discontent and dismay with the recent increase in attacks on commercial farmers in the country.
Two farmers were recently shot dead by unknown persons in the Okahandja and Grootfontein areas in Otjozondjupa Region.
According to the latest police crime report, Gerald Leitner, 76, was shot on 24 July 2015 at his Hochfeld farm outside Okahandja, while Peter Jacob, 52, was killed at his plot just outside Grootfontein on 21 July this year.
The murders have prompted the leadership of Namibia's official opposition political party, the DTA, to issue a media statement on Thursday in which they condemned the increase in the frequency of attacks aimed at commercial farms and commercial farm owners.
“It is common cause that Namibia's agricultural sector is directly responsible for the sustenance and daily bread of over 40 per cent of Namibians, and thus it is essential that the Namibian Government does everything within its power to not only protect the interests of the communal farmers, but also to protect the interests of commercial farmers, as inevitably concrete employment opportunities within the agricultural sector are more often derived from the commercial farms as opposed to their communal farms counterparts,” said DTA president McHenry Venaani.
The DTA president stressed that the unabated trend of attacks on commercial farms over the last two decades has the potential to discourage several young Namibians from pursuing farming as a career path.
“One dreads to think of the consequences that could hold for food security in the country,” he said.
The DTA leader called on members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) to, at the very least and as soon as possible, initiate an aggressive and vigilant approach to protecting commercial farm owners.
“The visibility of the members of the Namibian Police Force is the only mechanism that can effectively act as deterrence to criminals. Long prison sentences do not cross the minds of scrupulous criminals who are convinced that given the relative isolation of their targets in commercial farming areas, being caught is unlikely,” said Venaani.
He also called on the entire Namibian nation to stand up in solidarity and help protect those on commercial farms.
“We encourage all Namibians to report any suspicious activity and movement of people in their areas to the nearest police station,” he said.
Venaani stated that his political party fully sympathises with the plight of commercial farmers. He extended the party's condolences to the family and friends of those who fell victim to, “ruthless criminals who target defenceless isolated, often elderly, people who remain the backbone of Namibia's agricultural sector.”
The Namibia Agricultural Union earlier this week also released a statement to raise concern over attacks on farmers, saying the union has safety guidelines available on its website that guide farmers towards being aware and nesuring safety on their property.