State of Urban Safety Report Confirms Need for Drastic Crime Intervention
Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde says the 2018/19 State of Urban Safety in South Africa report is an indictment of SAPS’ response to crime in our province.
The report, published by the South African Cities Network, confirms that the murder rate in Cape Town has increased by almost 70% between 2009/10 and 2017/18, and that the province has the highest rates for robbery and property-related crimes. It attributes gang violence, illegal firearms, corrupt SAPS officers and drugs and alcohol as contributing factors to these figures.
Due to these factors the report states: “Understandably, Cape Town residents reported experiencing more crime/violence and feeling more unsafe compared to residents in other cities - they are also the least satisfied with law enforcement, after Buffalo City.”
The report considered data from 2005/6 to 2017/18 and includes 9 cities, namely Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane, Mangaung, eThekweni, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City and Msunduzi.
Minister Winde said: “Minister of Police Bheki Cele and the ANC Government must be held accountable for these ludicrous outcomes. Since the launch of the anti-gang unit, 1567 people have been killed in our province, in what can only be described as a ‘war’. The residents of Cape Town and the Province deserve to feel and be safe, and the national government has failed us.
To date, I have raised the following issues with Minister Cele:
- Too few resources – we are 4500 officers short
- Poor handling of investigations leading to failures to prosecute
- Obliteration of reservist programme and our R5 million offer to reignite it – still no response
- Accommodating Western Cape Government employees as Commissioner of Oaths – still no response
- In-fighting and corruption amongst police top management – no response
- Fighting against gun crime – poor response
- Unfair discrimination against Black and poor people in police allocations as per SJC court case – no response
My patience with Minister Cele has ran out and it is for this reason that my Department has commenced with a process to determine avenues in the Constitution to secure greater provincial policing powers. The devolution of policing powers to Provinces will place the local authority in a position to take the fight to crime through effective policing. The status quo sees our police service managed by someone who is 1500km away with no understanding of our local reality.
The report makes various recommendations and amongst others it includes seeking and forming alliances with relevant stakeholders, the implementation of systems to effectively monitor crime prevention programmes and develop evidence-based safety strategies.
As a Provincial Government we have been pro-active in establishing various partnerships, with amongst others our more than 300 accredited Neighbourhood Watch structures, which have helped reduced property-related crime by 6,8%. We are actively involved with the religious sector to provide various life skills and empowerment programmes for the youth during school holidays.
We also held a Safer Western Cape Conference in November 2018, which included all stakeholders in the safety sectors, civil society, spheres of Government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
In addition to this, we have launched the reporting of an illegal firearm initiative, where a resident could receive a reward of R10 000 for doing so. The number that residents can dial is 078 330 9333 and a senior official in the Department will handle the call. Those reporting the illegal firearm have our assurance that their personal details will not be shared with SAPS or anyone else.
I am also pleased that the Kwa-Zulu Natal City of Msunduzi has adopted our Safety Kiosk programme, as the kiosks provide a link between communities and SAPS.
Through an effective, accountable, honest, well-trained police service, along with our stakeholder partnerships, will we be able to create a #SaferWesternCape.