MEC Winde Launches Project Aimed At Getting Police Officers Back On Our Streets
Today (12 February 2019), Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde, launched a week-long pilot project which sees Western Cape Government volunteers doing duty as Commissioners of Oaths so that police officers can focus on averting crime.
The initiative came about as a result of Minister Winde’s push to get more police on active patrolling duty: “In the Western Cape, we are 4500 police officers short. I have written to national police Minister Bheki Cele numerous times to ask for more police. To date, he has ignored my requests, and the plight of our communities. The fact is, our communities only ever see the national minister before an election.
As a province, we do not have a mandate over the police, but we want to do something to help our residents who are living in fear. Our solution is to relieve police officers from their desks so that they can get back onto our streets. If our Western Cape Government staff can do the police’s desk work for them, they can go out and focus on catching criminals.”
Minister Winde certified documents from a Western Cape Government safety kiosk, situated outside the Cape Town police station. He was assisted by graduate interns from the Chrysalis Academy, who are on a year-long paid work placement programme in the Department of Community Safety.
Said Winde: “I had hoped that Minister Cele would agree to let us use a desk inside the station, but that request also fell on deaf ears. We have come up with another plan, which works just as well, and gets the job done.”
Most government employees, including the Minister, are legally qualified to certify documents.
Said Winde: “Another important benefit of this initiative is that it saves residents from standing in long queues. I hate it when people are forced to take time away from work, sometimes unpaid leave, to stand in long queues. We need to be able to help our residents to get their documents certified quickly, so that they can get back to work, and their incomes aren’t affected.”
A large number of documents for college- and job applications were certified today. It was also estimated that approximately 200 people can be assisted per hour.
If this pilot is successful, the programme will be rolled out across the province in the near future. A snap survey amongst employees in the Western Cape Department of Community Safety showed that many staff members were willing to do voluntary shifts outside of working hours, at their local police station, to help their community.
Minister Winde said: “I am extremely proud of our employees for living up to our value of being a caring organisation.”
The pilot will run for this week.