Statement by Western Cape Minister For Community Safety Leonard Ramatlakane | Western Cape Government


Statement by Western Cape Minister For Community Safety Leonard Ramatlakane

2 August 2004
Commenting on remarks made by Opposition political parties at a Media conference on 03 August in the Western Cape Legislature, Western Cape Minister for Community Safety Leonard Ramatlakane said:

"The recent so called crisis that emerged in the aftermath of the Milnerton/ Table View meeting, has been used opportunistically by certain elements to derail the Provincial government's attempts to bring uniformity in the police in the province and above all continue to on the path this government has started, more than 18 months ago in building community partnerships.

"It is important that the Milnerton/ Table View incident be read in context, a factor that has been ignored by members of the media and without looking at the rationale in this matter."

Indeed the methodology we have adopted might not have been an appropriate one in terms of its timing and we should engaged in a more consultative process in hindsight.

For the record the Table View/ Milnerton Crime has never been suspended nor abolished. They have the right to continue to operate without utilising state resources in the form of functional police and reservists registered for payment.

This is part of the issue we will clarify when we meet with that community next week.

To this end, the Provincial Commissioner and I have agreed to revisit the issues of reservists and the payments they receive and to begin to work towards a model that finds harmony in both our standing orders and the needs of our community.

This we are committed to ensuring.

But by the same token we believe that the accusations leveled the Provincial Commissioner in the aftermath of the Table View meeting, were unfounded and pandering to the creation of an atmosphere of paranoia.

The sanctity of human life must never be questioned and indeed when a citizen of our province is killed or maimed, it is all of us' responsibility and condemn it and work towards the reduction of crime in our province.

"It was therefore sad to read the comments that since the termination of the Crime Watch patrols, incidents of violence have somehow escalated in the area.

Already we have incidences of false accusations being made about the supposedly increased crime activities in the area.

If we are honest and truly caring about every human life, then by the same token we should be reporting on the daily murders that occur in Khayelitsha and other African townships in this province. This has not happened."

The incident of the reservist who has committed suicide, now suddenly gets attributed to the Commissioner. It is insensitive to the family and in total disregard to the character and dignity of the Commissioner. As what you are saying he is responsible for the death of Mr. MacGowan.

As a result of this so-called crisis, our opposition parties have now cried foul against the Provincial Commissioner.

Led by former Provincial Commissioner Lennit Max who now cries foul that we are attempting to undermine community partnership.

For Max to act in an opportunistic manner like this, is unbelievable, recalling that he himself took a particular position when he acted against Houtbay when they were operating in conflict with the Police Act.

"For him(Max) to attempt to divide the community of Milnerton, demonstrate an immature politician he is and this must be condemned in its strongest possible term.

Statements such as " when I left they replace me with black management, now the police are disillusioned, made by the former Commissioner Max to several people attending the meeting, demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt an immature mentality by pa politician of his stature who seeks nothing but to play the race card.

No Commissioner in the last ten years in this province can claim the levels of success that Commissioner Petros has achieved in his short term.

Under my leadership, we have seen community partnerships grow in leaps and bound. Our opposition has done everything to discredit this process.

The accusation that the Bambanani community volunteers, has become a sort of a private army is so removed from the reality that confront our communities daily" said Minister Ramatlakane.

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