Cele's comment on SAPS devolution & LEAP divisive
Joint media release: Minister Cele’s latest comments on SAPS devolution and LEAP continue to be nonsensical and divisive.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde described Police Minister Bheki Cele’s latest remarks on the issue of devolving the South African Police Service and the impact the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) is having as nonsensical. “Not only is his claim that LEAP officers have not been deployed to areas like Nyanga and Delft untrue, but I believe his dogged pushback at the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town’s move to devolve the Police Service is wearing thin.”
The Premier said: “The Minister is deeply mistaken when he claims LEAP is not helping to push down violent crime in areas where officers are deployed. You need only look at the most recent crime statistics to see he is wrong. A more than 8% reduction in murders in most areas where LEAP is in operation is all the evidence one needs to see our interventions are having an impact.”
He pointed out: “The drop in murders due to the hard work LEAP officers – along with their partners - do is encouraging and proves the Provincial Government and City’s approach to fighting crime – rooted in data and evidence - is working.”
“It is unfortunate that Minister Cele has stated that LEAP has not been ‘unleashed’ in Nyanga and Delft,” added Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety Minister Reagen Allen.
Minister Allen remarked: “The Minister completely missed the mark, as this cannot be further from the truth. LEAP’s deployment is based on data and evidence, and where the need is greatest. It is a known fact that for a long time, Nyanga’s been the murder capital of the country. Since LEAP’s intervention, this area has seen a steady decline in the murder rate, and it is no longer the murder capital of South Africa.”
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said: “I want to assure Minister Cele that Cape Town’s fight is with criminals, not politicians. Our offer of help to the SAPS stands as we can do so much more together to fight crime.”
“The Minister has the power to devolve more policing powers now, without any constitutional amendment. It is becoming increasingly impossible for him to deny that this is necessary,” added Mayor Hill-Lewis.
He said: “The City already has the capacity to help the SAPS. Law Enforcement has more than tripled its arrest rate in recent years, thanks to our investments, with 50% of these arrests being drug-related. Over 220 firearms have also been taken off the streets in areas like Nyanga, Delft, Khayelitsha and Phillipi. We are helping the Police Service to reduce murders and other violent crimes. By devolving more policing powers we can do even more, including investigating offences, compiling prosecution-ready cases dockets and tracking these through the courts.”
Looking at the further successes of LEAP, the Mayor added: “The 4th quarter crime statistics for 2021/22 are a testament to the importance and effectiveness of the plan.”
Minister Allen pointed to the facts: “Nyanga has a LEAP deployment of 76 officers, and Delft - where data is showing us that constant shootings are occurring - has the highest deployment of 93 officers in a single precinct. Minister Cele would do well to visit and engage with our LEAP officers and see how they are stepping up where he has failed to provide the required resources. In fact, this might convince him to immediately devolve SAPS to the Western Cape, so that we as a capable and effective government can manage this important service.”
The Premier has warned against using divisive tactics – such as Minister Cele’s claim in Parliament this week that decentralising the policing authority will allow black people in the Western Cape to be given over to people who do not care for them. “This kind of sentiment does not help in keeping our communities safe,” he said.