Minister Plato comments on national police minister's budget speech
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
National Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s budget speech today spoke out strongly against the prevalence of guns, which I welcome, but unfortunately not strong enough on stemming the tide of gangsterism and drugs.
I agree with Minister Nhleko’s comments that there “are far too many guns circulating in our society”. It remains unacceptable that official SAPS firearms (like those reported on and originating from Gauteng) land up in the hands of gangsters in our province and that the confiscation of illegal guns are not equating to less shooting and killing of people in our communities.
Minister Nhleko’s comments that he will place “stronger emphasis on the need to review specialised units” is unfortunately not enough to demonstrate the steps the South African Police Service (SAPS) are taking to stem the tide against gangsterism and drugs.
The success of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, the need for policing responses to be at a level higher than the criminals and the daily pleas from communities for urgent intervention into the scourge of gangs and drugs in our communities should be reason enough to put review considerations into intervention action.
The Western Cape is losing the battle against gangsterism and drugs. I would have like to see Minister Nhleko announce today 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.
For the national police budget to matter we need to see better equipped police on our streets, we need to see more police on our streets, and we need to see a reduction in the crime statistics.
Murders in the Western Cape have increased from 2 300 to 2 580 to 2 909 over the past 3 years. This is simply unacceptable and the SAPS budget needs to ensure that taxpayer’s money is spent in the right places so that this horrendously high number of murders is drastically reduced, and our people feel safer.
One murder is one too many, but going from 2 300 to 2 909 in 3 years says that current policing strategy is simply not working.
I will continue to engage the SAPS management, provincially and nationally, on the urgency in reintroducing the specialised units. For the people of the Western Cape the Specialised Gang and Drug units will be life-saving.