Three Months, More Deaths: Cele Takes No Action to Fix Police Resourcing
Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde, says that three months after his bruising court loss on how police officers are allocated, the national Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has yet to take any corrective action.
The Western Cape Equality Court found that the National Minister of Police is discriminating against poor and Black Western Cape residents in how it allocates police resources, and that the system the South African Police Service uses to allocate resources is unfairly discriminating against poor and Black people in the Western Cape, on the basis of race and poverty.
The Social Justice Coalition (SJC), the Nyanga Community Policing Forum (NCPF) and Equal Education (EE), who were the applicants in this matter, applied to the court for an order compelling SAPS’ provincial management “to prepare a plan for the reallocation of resources within the Western Cape to address the most serious disparities in the allocation of police human resources in the Province.”
The applicants also asked the court to compel the Minister and the national commissioner to “re-evaluate the system the South African Police Service uses to allocate and distribute its human resources.”
While the court postponed remedy to a later date, its finding was clear.
Minister Winde said: “It is deeply concerning that three months later, Minister Bheki Cele has made no moves to address the resource discrimination experienced by poor and Black Western Cape communities. On the ground, nothing has changed for residents living in high crime zones, who still experience rampant crime as a result of too few police officers in their areas.
“This lack of action on Minister Cele’s part once again demonstrates his unwillingness to address police resourcing issues in the Province. It’s become crystal clear that Minister Cele wants our residents to continue living in fear. The Minister has had three months to show that he cares about the high crime levels affecting our most vulnerable residents by taking action to address skewed resource allocations.
The Provincial Department of Health’s mortuary statistics, which indicate that 1226 people were killed in the Province between November 2018 and February 2019, should shake the Minister into action, and yet he is as still as a statue.
Said Winde: “Minister Cele, you don’t need to wait for a court to tell you exactly what to do to fix the broken system you oversee. You have a constitutional duty to protect the citizens of this Province, and instead of wasting another three months, you can put steps in place now to fix it.
The people of the Western Cape deserve a well-resourced, accountable and professional police service, which is why we are fighting for it to be decentralised.”