Clean Governance Strengthen Community Safety Service Delivery
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Through clean and effective governance, partnerships and an innovative approach to finding safety solutions, the Department has been able to deliver on its key mandate to provide effective oversight over policing in the province and create environments in which safety can be increased.
While many safety challenges still exist in our province, and require an effective operational policing response, which is a responsibility that does not lie within the provincial government’s authority, the Department of Community Safety, has, through hard work, resilience and dedication, delivered on its oversight mandate.
I commend the Head of Department, Dr Gilbert Lawrence, his Chief Directors and the entire staff complement of the Department of Community Safety for their sterling work in the previous financial year. Their contributions are recognised in achieving an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor General, captured in the Department’s annual report and presented today to the Standing Committee on Community Safety in the Provincial Parliament.
With the principles of good governance embedded in the Department of Community Safety I look forward to working Better Together towards the full implementation of the Community Safety Act and the recommendations of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry to further improve the relationship between the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province, the Western Cape Government and our communities.
The innovative Watching Briefs unit in the department tasked with observing and reporting on proceedings in court to identify systemic failures with a particular focus on gang-related crimes, monitored a total of 785 cases during the previous financial year. Through a snapshot survey we have been able to show that between October 2013 and March 2014 alone, we identified 71 cases which were removed from the court roll due to inefficiencies from the SAPS. Of the identified cases, 44% (31) were reinstated on the court roll and 39% (28) resulted in disciplinary action being instituted against the responsible police officers.
The reinstatement of cases on the court roll not only shows the effectiveness of the unit and ensures a better quality of police service in the Western Cape but also awards victims, their families and communities at large the opportunity to have perpetrators face their full day in court. I have commended the SAPS management for working with us on this project as the outcome is beneficial to all parties.
The Department also managed to exceed the number of Neighbourhood Watches trained by 34%, due to an increase in demand from these structures. Properly trained and functioning Neighbourhood Watches are an invaluable asset in creating community led safer environments.
Through a whole-of-society approach we strive to create the meaningful partnerships that we need to stop the scourge of drugs and alcohol affecting our communities, to stop the violence and killings at the hands of gangs in the province and to realise safer environments for all.
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