· 3000 new law enforcement officers deployed where and when crime happens
· Deployment based on data-led technology
· 150 investigators to prepare dockets for prosecution
· A world-class, evidence-led and integrated violence prevention programme
· A safety priority for every Cabinet Minister with accountable, transparent metrics
Last week’s release of the latest (and already outdated) crime statistics, made clear what is self-evident. Violent crime is one of the most important but also one of the most complex challenges of the Western Cape.
The murder ratio in the Western Cape is now at 60 for every 100 000 people. And yet, we know that violent crime and murder in particular is concentrated in a few, specific neighbourhoods. Almost half of all murders occurred in areas covered by just ten police stations. It is obvious that that is where we need to focus our resources if we want to drastically reduce murder.
And we do - and will – to the extent that we are aiming to halve the provincial murder rate in 10 years. I have no illusions as to how difficult and seemingly impossible this is – but our very future hinges on making this province safe for all of us.
SAPS are tasked with keeping communities safe, but they are not doing it. This provincial government refuses to sit back and allow our residents to continue to live in fear. We have taken action, and we are rolling out a series of proactive responses to address crime as well as its risk factors.
Today, I am announcing the most comprehensive and expensive safety plan the province has ever seen.
This Safety Plan includes both a law enforcement and a violence prevention component. This is because we know that boots on the ground are not enough. Violence starts at home and in our communities. We know that a child who experiences violence, either in the home, in the school environment or by living in a violent environment, is much more likely to commit or be a victim of violence and crime as an adult. If we do not also put our energy in empowering our children, families and communities to use alternatives to violence, then our other efforts will serve little purpose.
Firstly, working with the City of Cape Town we will fund, train and deploy 3000 new law enforcement officers - with 1000 of them being trained and deployed this year already. These officers will have the mandate to operate province wide, under the command and control of the Western Cape Government.
The deployment will be data driven, using technology and information, including information from Neighbourhood Watches, to focus specifically on dangerous crime hot-spots- at specific times and places where and when violent crime happens.
Because we want to ensure that violent criminals are convicted, we will also fund, train and deploy 150 investigators - 50 in the first year already - who will prepare dockets for prosecution of those alleged to have committed serious and violent crime.
Secondly we will focus on the prevention and reduction of violence. Using a public health approach to violence prevention, we have identified key levers which will be prioritised as part of this safety plan.
I appreciate that these are long term interventions which ordinarily means that politicians shy away from them. But I am committed to them and intend to hand them over as a legacy to whoever my successor is.
Importantly, we will closely monitor whether we are on the right track, then evaluate and learn from what we’ve done, and adapt if necessary. Preventing violence is complex, and we need the best people, both inside and outside government, in universities, in NGOs and in communities, to make this happen.
In the next 12 months we will:
Provide support to 10 000 children and their caregivers during the first 1000 days of a child’s life - the first known contributor to setting a child on a crime-free path through life.
Identify the families most at risk of violence and roll out parenting programmes that, in similar contexts around the world, have been proven to reduce violence - particularly substance abuse & gender based violence.
Work better and harder to reduce violence in schools, including through innovative programmes both for learners and educators.
Ensure that 8000 of the children most vulnerable to violence - boys in particular - have access to programmes that they actually want to attend to keep them busy in the afternoons, where the lure of criminality has been proven to begin.
Radically expand our partnership with the already successful Chrysalis Academy to ensure that more graduates find jobs and give back to their communities after their stay at the Academy.
Once all law enforcement officers and investigators are deployed, we will be spending R1 billion a year on fighting crime and preventing violence. I know that this is a lot of money prioritised for crime fighting - not ordinarily a provincial responsibility - and that there is no doubt that it will affect the other services that we deliver to communities. We will do our best to mitigate this. But the levels of violent crime in our communities has left me with no choice but to make these very difficult budgetary re-allocations. I am not going to point fingers at others - I am not going to do any more talk shops. The time for action is now. And we are acting.
We welcome the motivation behind the comprehensive national gender-based violence plan the President announced yesterday. The thinking and basis of this safety plan aligns with much of its rhetoric - in fact we take it further with more resources, more governmental integration and certainly much more metric based accountability. But I certainly hope that we can count on national government and the Presidency in particular, to share learnings, best practice and - importantly, more resources to deliver on his promises.
Each of the Ministers in my cabinet has been assigned a safety priority, and they have all undertaken to be personally accountable for the delivery of each of those outcomes, which will be made public, as will each Minister’s progress on them.
The priorities as set out for each minister are:
Minister Fritz: Community Safety
Minister Fritz will be responsible to oversee the training and deployment of 3000 law enforcement officers and 150 investigators to the places and times where and when violent crime happens. They will also be working to expand the highly successful Chrysalis Programme, enhance police oversight and work to change legislation to ensure that cheap alcohol pricing is altered.
Minister Fernandez: Social Development
Minister Fernandez will be responsible for identifying, profiling and supporting youth at risk of violent or criminal behaviour. She will also be responsible to deliver parenting programmes with a focus on reducing violence, gender-based violence and substance abuse, which have been shown to work in other areas around the world.
Minister Marais: Sports, Arts and Culture
Minister Marais will be responsible for the coordination of the Youth-In-Service programme, which will be scaled up to increase opportunities for unemployed youth aged 18-24 in accessing the important first work opportunity. Also, additional after school programmes will be targeted to reach at-risk youth who currently do not always attend these programmes, to reduce anti-social behaviours and school dropouts.
Minister Maynier: Finance and Economic Opportunities
Minister Maynier has been tasked with upscaling the uptake of Chrysalis Programme youth into job opportunities after their one-year job placement. A focus will also be placed on improving tourist safety.
Minister Mbombo: Health
Minister Mbombo will focus on rolling out first 1000 days support to 10 000 mothers and caregivers, with a focus on at risk mothers. The first 1000 days of a child’s life, from conception to the age of two, are key in the development and thriving of a child’s life, including to ensure strong bonds between children and caregivers, setting the path for healthy families.
Minister Meyer: Agriculture
Minister Meyer will focus on the roll-out of the rural safety plan to ensure safety in these areas.
Minister Schäfer: Education
Minister Schäfer will work to increase school safety through an upgrade of physical infrastructure and the implementation of programmes aimed at reducing violence on school grounds. A major such programme is our Transform to Perform strategy which instills values in every learner across the province.
Minister Madikizela: Transport and Public Works
Minister Madikizela will be focused on road safety and reducing the high number of road deaths as well as the optimisation of the provincial Highway Patrol - all through data-driven, technology-enabled methods.
Minister Simmers: Human Settlements
Minister Simmers’ priority safety focus area will be to increase safe spaces through environmental design. These include the inclusion of simple elements like stoeps, lighting and communal spaces in all new developments falling under his mandate.
Minister Bredell: Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
Minister Bredell will be responsible for the review of policies and processes to improve safety through urban and rural planning, design and spatial planning. Environmental design plays an important role in preventing (or facilitating) crime and in building (or fracturing) social cohesion.
I have also decided to abandon the idea of a Premier's Priority Committee on Safety. Instead I will declare regular Cabinet Meetings to be a Safety Cabinet where the Ministers, SAPS and other stakeholders in the Criminal Justice System will be held accountable to delivery metrics which I will, in turn, communicate directly to the public.
We have a lot of good policies and excellent knowledge that can guide us to holistically address crime and violence. None of them provide easy or straightforward solutions. Yet, I have decided, in collaboration with my Cabinet and our partners at the City, to do everything possible through the use of technology and evidence to arrest violent crime where and when it happens, but also - just as importantly - to address the drivers of crime and violence. The actions we have outlined above will build the collective resilience of our households and communities to crime and trauma.
This is my plan as it stands today. I will not shy away from amending or changing what does not work - or trying out new ideas or approaches. One thing I will not change is my steadfast determination to rid our province of this scourge. And I call on our people to hold me accountable to that - not just to its general concept - but to each and every one of the specific delivery metrics that we will announce for every one of the interventions I have outlined today.