SAPS WC Annual Report – Lessons to be Learned can Improve Safety Service Deliver
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I commend the Western Cape South African Police Service (SAPS) management on an honest and transparent reflection of the state of crime and the police as captured in their latest annual report.
Their report makes it clear that although they face a challenging policing situation in the province, they have managed to put in place the proper monitoring systems and checks and balances, which seems to be lacking in other provinces.
In our combined efforts to create safer environments and the SAPS’ efforts to combat crime, it is important to have reliable information at hand to inform policy changes and operation direction towards year-on-year improvements on safety service delivery in the province.
The number of incidents of non-compliance in terms of the Domestic Violence Act, for instance, has more than doubled in the Western Cape, from 213 in 2012/13 to 519 in 2013/14, but it is an honest reflection compared to discrepancies in figures reflected in the National SAPS annual report with other provinces such as Gauteng indicating zero cases of non-compliance in 2012/13 and 1 in 2013/14; or KwaZulu-Natal indicating 0 for both 2012/13 and 2013/14. The dramatic increases in incidents in the Western Cape are attributed to focused inspections conducted at stations in order to ultimately improve safety service delivery. The Department of Community Safety will keep a close eye on this in terms of our oversight role.
As we approach the 16 Days of Activism of no violence against women and children we need to look at how we can work Better Together to ensure compliance with all aspects of the law and all benchmark targets set. In this regard, the 426 victims that were visited by SAPS as part of their follow-up engagements to assess the implementation of the SAPS Domestic Violence Projects in combatting Gender Based Violence are welcomed.
The annual report also sadly highlighted that too many police officers still come under attack in our province. In the financial year under review seven SAPS officers were killed on-duty; nine officers were killed while off-duty, while 388 attacks occurred on on-duty police officers and 46 attacks on the police while off-duty were recorded.
I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the brave officers who lost their lives.
I urge communities to help safeguard our police and to assist the police, who risk their lives daily in service to the people of this province.
Safety remains everyone’s responsibility and the police will be able to provide an even better quality of service with the limited resources they have, catch more criminals and help make our communities safer, if we all continuously play our part to this effect.
I will continue to call for a more equitable distribution of resources to empower the police service in this province to provide the services that our communities need. For instance, Public Order Policing (POP) responded and stabilised on average at least 2 incidents of violent and unruly protest actions per day (744 for the year under review) in the province. Not effectively increasing the POP officer allocation in the Western Cape for at least another two years will definitely hinder the police in their ability to contain violent situations and keep citizens safe.
The lessons learnt from the information contained in the Western Cape SAPS annual report must be implemented without hesitation to ensure that we continuously improve on providing the quality of safety services to the people in the province. This requires all safety role-players including the SAPS, different spheres of government, departments, non-governmental organisations, communities and individuals to play their part Better Together.
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