Statement by Min Dan Plato - President Zuma’s inaction on crime hampering safety
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
President Zuma’s inaction on crime hampering safety service delivery
Date: 15 February 2017
President Jacob Zuma’s inaction on properly resourcing the SAPS in the Western Cape is allowing gangsterism, drugs, guns and their impact on communities, to continue unabated in the province.
While I am glad President Zuma took the time to visit to Nyanga yesterday, I am even more encouraged by the concerns voiced to him by the local members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). My Department has been criticised in the past for raising the same concerns that SAPS members have about effective police resourcing, and the impact of dismally low conviction rates.
If crime in our communities was an apex priority for the President, surely the reintroduction of specialised units to tackle drugs and guns, announced by him last year already, would have been established. However this year he simply repeated last year’s promise and nothing more.
To label the Western Cape, Cape Town or Nyanga as the crime capital of the country cannot exonerate the President, or his Minister of Police, for continuously failing the people of the province.
He is blaming the many over-worked police officers who are struggling to fight crime without enough boots on the ground, or specialised capacity.
The Western Cape Government supports the efforts of the hardworking men and women in blue in the province under the leadership of Lt Gen Jula. We offer assistance to the police through our oversight mandate and by helping to create safer environments for all in the province.
Together, the Western Cape police, government and City of Cape Town are continuously working harder and better together in service of communities whose lived realities are characterised by fear.
For President Zuma to expect the results of effective policing strategies from the bottom up, without implementing strategic direction or capacitating effectively from the top down, is not only disingenuous but another insult to every person feeling unsafe in the province.
President Zuma’s police have actively tried to stop adequate safety service delivery in the Western Cape. This includes:
- Fighting the Provincial Government all the way to the Constitutional Court in our attempt to address policing inefficiencies in Khayelitsha;
- Obstructing the implementation of the recommendations of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry through Police Minister Nhleko and suspended Police Commissioner Phieyga’s unwillingness to work with the Provincial Government, after their loss in the Constitutional Court.
- President Zuma’s unwillingness to deploy the army in support of SAPS’ efforts to maintain law and order in gang stricken communities where lives are lost every day, yet deploying 441 members of the army to protect him in the parliamentary precinct.
- Ignoring our calls since 2011 for the reintroduction of the Specialised Policing units, such as the gang and drug units; and
- Delaying the implementation of specialised units since the commitment made by Police Minister Nhleko since May 2015.
It is almost two years later and we are not any closer to seeing the introduction of the specialised units yet are supposed to be appeased by reiterated promises.
The Western Cape Government takes its oversight role seriously.
We are the only province to legislate our oversight mandate through the Community Safety Act. We also established the first Police Ombudsman in the country to investigate policing inefficiencies. We are formalising Neighbourhood Watches in the province, through an accreditations process, besides progressing our relationships with Community Policing Forums and the safety fraternity.
Our court Watching Briefs unit has identified more than 600 cases last year where police inefficiency resulted in cases being struck off the court role.
We are eagerly awaiting the quarterly crime statistics from the Provincial SAPS management. We are expecting major strides being made in reducing the prevalence of crime through increased crime prevention strategies and cooperation by the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and Provincial SAPS. This despite the provincial police being historically hampered to deliver a level of safety services to the people of this province which they deserve instead of what Zuma’s police allows.
Ewald Botha, Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113