Crime fighting requires resources and less talking
Police Minister Bheki Cele has once again come to the province to engage residents, but what residents want and need is action, in the form of more visible policing. Unless the Western Cape’s chronic under-resourcing of SAPS is immediately addressed, we will unfortunately continue to experience some of the shootings we’ve recently encountered.
Since March this year and including this past weekend’s 3 murders, 29 people have lost their lives in mass shootings in Khayelitsha.
It cannot be acceptable that to this day the SAPS in Khayelitsha and so many other areas across the Western Cape continues to be under-resourced. Khayelitsha’s police to population ratio is 1 officer for every 628 residents. In Harare it is 1:879 and Lingelethu West, 1:664. The provincial average is 1:520, which is a far cry below the national average.
The National Minister, Bheki Cele’s continued mismanagement of SAPS will lead us further away from fighting crime. Due to his consistent failure of providing the necessary resources to the province, we had to step in where he and the National Government has failed.
Through the Western Cape Safety Plan, which commenced in September 2019, we’ve launched our Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers. These officers, who are over 1 200 strong, are strategically deployed to the 13 SAPS precincts that have the highest murder rate in the province. Khayelitsha has a deployment of over 143 LEAP officers, with 67 deployed in the Site B precinct on a 24-hour basis over 7 days a week. They also cover the Site C area where this weekend’s shooting occurred. In addition to this, 76 LEAP officers are in the Harare area.
Their primary focus area is to reduce the murder rate in hotspot areas across the province. Their deployment is backed by data and evidence, as to where most murders are occurring. They serve as force multipliers to strengthen SAPS’ hand in the fight against murders and crime in general.
Through their efforts, and by working hand-in-hand with SAPS and other law enforcement agencies, they’ve ensured that Nyanga is no longer the murder capital in the country. In fact, for the first time in its history, Nyanga saw a reduction in its murder rate for four consecutive quarters during the 2021/22 financial year. Gugulethu, which was on the list of the top 30 murder stations in the country, is no longer there.
The most basic rule of crime fighting is visibility and the feedback we’re consistently receiving from politicians, SAPS and other law enforcement agencies and the public where LEAP is deployed, is that it is making a difference and they are visible. We can be more effective once we have the necessary resources on the ground.
LEAP has also started incorporating the Western Cape Government’s recently launched Safety Dashboard. This dashboard is providing real-time data to provincial safety stakeholders and helps identify exactly where the LEAP officers are mostly required.
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. Our aim is to achieve similar successes in Khayelitsha, as we’ve seen in Nyanga and Gugulethu, and we call on Minister Cele to join this fight by correcting the dramatic under-resourcing of SAPS in the area.
Spokesperson for Minister Reagen Allen
021 482 0103 (o)
082 721 3362 (m)