Yesterday, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, visited Raymond and Betty O’Grady, the elderly owners of the Hillcrest Berry Farm in Stellenbosch. They survived a vicious farm attack in the early hours of 21 August 2020.
Raymond O’Grady highlights that farm attacks are complicated.
O’Grady: “Attacks are very complicated. The number of young people looking for work and living alone without family support is problematic. But, I am doing something that I believe can help, and that is why I started Hillcrest Berry Farm.”
Hillcrest Berry Farm continues to offer employment to 130 people.
Commenting on his visit, Minister said:
“I was struck by the couple’s resilience and a deep sense of commitment and caring for their workers, the community of Stellenbosch and South Africa.”
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture established a rural safety desk and rural safety monitoring dashboard in August 2020.
Meyer: “The rural safety desk and rural safety monitoring dashboard provide a platform to track and monitor all incidents of rural crime. Information received about the safety of agri-workers and producers is captured on the dashboard. It triggers further actions, all aimed at ensuring a speedy investigation and judicial process.”
Meyer continues: “In the case of the Hillcrest Farm attack, the Department’s Community Development Officer made contact with the South African Police Service at Groot Drakenstein Police Station on the day of the attack. Available information was logged on the dashboard and regularly updated throughout the investigation and trial. By tracking the progress of the case, we were able to ensure that justice triumphs.”
The O‘ Grady’s thanked Minister Meyer for his visit, saying:
“During our ordeal, the police and state prosecutor have been very helpful. We grateful for the Minister’s interest in us and his commitment towards rural safety.”
Meyer concluded: “Rural safety is about ensuring the dignity of our farmers, producer and agri-workers. Any criminal attack on agriculture is an attack on our economy. Therefore, I encourage agricultural stakeholders to log incidents at email@example.com. “
Minister Meyer with Raymond and Betty O'Grady
Rural Safety Desk
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer
Tel: 079 990 4231