SAPS Budget- Minister Nhleko has Opportunity to Adequately Resource Western Cape
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Minister Nhleko has the perfect opportunity in the National SAPS Budget Vote Debate in Parliament tomorrow, 15 May 2015, to effect the necessary changes that can drastically improve the policing and safety service delivery in our Western Cape.
I will use today’s special meeting between the National Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, and the Provincial Members of the Executive(MECs), the MinMEC meeting, to highlight the serious policing resource, operational issues and constraints the Western Cape has relating to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and advocate that all of them receive urgent attention.
The list of concerns the Western Cape Government has identified through our oversight mandate over policing in the province keeps growing, requires immediate attention and cannot be back benched any longer. These include:
- Adequately and timeously resource the police in the Western Cape with sufficient resources and manpower;
- Reinstating the specialised units, including the gang and drug units;
- Implementing the Khayelitsha Commission recommendations;
- Provide regular crime statistics to improve intelligence driven safety interventions by the SAPS and other Safety role-plyers; and to
- Carefully consider the impact of legislative changes on safety while finalising outstanding regulations to assist safety service delivery.
The Provincial Policing Needs and Priorities (PNPs) supplied to the National Minister in April shows that the people of the province wants more police officers, vehicles and visible policing. The statistics have shown that the Western Cape has historically been under resourced with:
- Up to 85% of police stations are under resourced;
- More than 60% of police staff shortages are in the Western Cape; and
- Suspended Police Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, admitting that the Western Cape has a shortage of 3 000 police officers.
However, when looking at the projected increase in resources and manpower the Western Cape is always at the back of the line with:
- Public Order Policing increases over the MTEF but only in the outer years;
- More than half the generators to be supplied in the province will only be available in 2017/18; and
- Additional recruits to be trained will only be ready for deployment in two years’ time and not be sufficient.
I have no doubt that Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, is able to stabilise policing in the province but without the adequate support from the National Police Minister and Commissioner, provincial SAPS management are unable to effectively plug all the safety service delivery holes.
The Western Cape is losing the battle against gangsterism and drugs and I expect to see Minister Nhleko announce tomorrow exactly when the specialised units, including the gang and drug units, will be reinstated, how they will be capacitated and where they will be deployed.
Intelligence driven policing needs capacitated and expanded in the Western Cape and in the country as a whole. It is unacceptable that official SAPS firearms land up in the hands of gangsters in the cape. With up to 35 illegal weapons confiscated per week on the Cape flats alone – we need to ensure that energy in resources are placed to disarm those in contravention with firearm legislation and responsible for killings in our community.
On the policy front I would like to see the National Minister update the interim regulations pertaining to the effective functioning of CPFs which has been 14 years in the making and which will greatly assist in defining the role and powers these forums have when it comes to increasing safety in communities.
The Khayelistha Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations saw some profound actions required from the SAPS in the Khayelitsha area but which will have an impact on policing service delivery in the Western Cape and in the rest of the country. I will welcome Minister Nhleko’s support for the full implementation of all the recommendations as they pertain to the Khayelitsha area and its impact on the SAPS in service of the rest of the country but we need to see his support in practice. We still await his signature on the MOU sent last year as well as correspondence on our letters sent on the matter.
The Western Cape Government is continuously striving to work Better Together with the SAPS in the province to ensure quality safety service delivery for all people in the Western Cape. We are looking forward to seeing how National Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, will capacitate the SAPS in the province to effectively partner with the provincial government, our communities and organisations towards creating safer areas where people live, work and move about.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113