Security fund and emergency system to help South African rural areas.

October 99 News & Events

The South African Agricultural Union (SAAU) has launched the Agri Securitas Trust Fund, aimed at generating funds to protect farming communities throughout South Africa and reverse the growing trend of rural crime.

The Fund is designed to provide direct benefit to 85 000 commercial and small-scale farmers, their families and workers. Indirectly, by assisting to manage the high incidence of farm-related attacks, the Fund will serve the interests of the entire country.

One of the Fund's priorities will be the installation of a satellite communication system that affords blanket coverage for South Africa and provides an effective method to prevent and manage rural attacks.

Co-sponsoring the Fund are Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles and the satellite network technology provider Nortel Dasa. Both companies fall within the DaimlerChrysler group.

"Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Nortel Dasa have a longstanding relationship with the South African farming community. To show our support, we are working in close partnership with the Agricultural Union to develop an emergency system that will bring relief to farmers, their families and workers," said Dr Karl Classen, Vice-President of Nortel Dasa.

Classen said the Fund would make the rural community more aware of security concerns and of ways in which to combat rural crime - such as the use of latest technological advances.

"We at Nortel Dasa are working jointly with the SAAU on S@tGuard - a satellite based rapid-response rural emergency system. We are very excited about this economical and easy-to-operate system and expect it to be launched in South Africa soon," said Classen.

Based on state-of-the-art satellite technology, S@tGuard has a proven track record, demonstrating reliability specifically suited for rapid response distress calls and security functions. Its independence from earth-bound infrastructure makes it immune to human or climatic interference.

A demonstration project consisting of 17 systems installed in farm communities throughout South Africa including a control room at the SAAU headquarters in Pretoria is running successfully.

"Distress call switches - spread throughout the farming property - ensure that the nearest rescue station is alerted to an incident by a single press of a button and without a victim needing to dial any particular number. The call is simultaneously routed to neighbouring properties, allowing the community to protect itself and each member by implementing pre-planned emergency strategies," explains Classen.

For details contact Nortel Dasa's Thomas Schmid on tel: (012) 677 1522.

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