Minister Cele must stop working in silos if we’re to address crime
I call on the National Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to immediately stop working in a silo. While he claims to want to work with the Western Cape Government (WCG), our invitations for his Western Cape events often seem to get ‘lost in the post’, and actions speak louder than words. Our goal is to work with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and any other safety structures in this province to overcome crime.
Minister Cele’s recent event in Gugulethu is a case in point, where once again, an invitation was not extended. We can confirm that the Provincial CPF board and the City of Cape Town also did not receive invitations. Minister Cele is quoted in the media as saying that the engagement is a ‘constituency event and it was organised by a Member of Parliament (MP), and therefore there was no need to invite the province’. He further stated that he was only there to listen to the concerns of residents. What residents want, however, is action, and this requires all the safety stakeholders to be invited into the solution space.
In October 2021, whilst I served as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, the Minister made a public commitment to invite the province as a key stakeholder. There are various platforms where Minister Cele made this commitment, yet he once again failed to extend the invitation.
Meanwhile, we are active in crime fighting in Gugulethu. For instance, in July 2021 we deployed LEAP officers to Gugulethu as the data and information from community structures at our disposal showed that urgent intervention was required. This SAPS station was part of the top 30 murder stations across the country. The 4th quarter crime statistics shows that Gugulethu is no longer on this list. Nyanga, which for many years was the murder capital of the country, has for the entire 2021/22 financial year seen a decrease in its murder rate, and is no longer top of this list.
The WCG intervened in this way because SAPS was not providing the requisite human and other resources to fight crime in the area.
In this Province we refuse to work in silos, as this is counterproductive to our crime fighting efforts. Instead, we’re fostering working relationships with all relevant safety stakeholders. Part of the reason why criminals are still able to function is due to them being organized and working together. If we’re to be effective in our crime fighting efforts, to be better than the criminals we’re up against, we require all spheres of government, the private sector and civil society at large to steer in the same direction.
We’re forging ahead with our efforts to collaborate on various fronts because we have a firm priority in ensuring that our people are able to live in safer environments and with dignity. The cooperation in Gugulethu and the success is showing how the local SAPS, LEAP, CPF, NHW’s and other safety structures are making inroads against crime.
Minister Cele would do well to foster this collaborative spirit by working with us.
Spokesperson for Minister Reagen Allen
082 721 3362 (m)