Premier's Digicon series returns with a focus on safety | Western Cape Government


Premier's Digicon series returns with a focus on safety

29 February 2024

Media Release: Premier Winde’s Digicon series returns with a focus on safety & strengthening partnerships to tackle crime

Premier Alan Winde hosted the first episode of 2024 of his regular digicon series today. The digicon’ focus has been expanded beyond the issue of energy to examine the Premier and the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) other key priorities: safety, job creation, dignity, and wellbeing.

Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen, provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile and Cape Town District Commissioner Major-General Vincent Beaton joined the Premier this week to also further interrogate the latest quarterly crime statistics for the province. “We must constantly look at how to reduce the murder rate in our province, that is the basis of the Western Cape Safety Plan, the apex measurement for us. From there we must then focus on other serious crimes such as gender-based violence. We are serious about being a key partner in bringing down crime generally,” said Premier Winde.

On the ongoing search for 6-year-old Joslin Smith in Saldanha Bay, he thanked all role players involved in the operation to find the little girl, “We must make sure we bring together all resources needed to find her and all other children that devastatingly go missing every day.” Minister Allen added, “We are all praying for her safe return. We are in regular contact with all stakeholders to receive updates on the search operation.”

Quarterly crime statistics for the Western Cape

Further examining the 3rd quarter crime statistics for the 2023/24 financial year, Minister Allen said the province recorded an 8.6% increase in murders. But Minister Allen pointed out there are encouraging figures emerging from some Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) deployment areas in Cape Town. “If we look at Delft over the period under review there were 18 fewer murders. This is against the backdrop of two consecutive periods where there were increases in murders in that area. We were able to deploy additional LEAP members to Delft and we have now seen a reduction. When we discuss the need for more visible policing, the data consistently shows that where officers are deployed in areas where the need is the greatest, we see reductions. LEAP is working. But we will be the first to admit we have a long way still to go.”

Apart from combatting crime, preventing the scourge is also a major focus of the WCG. The Violence Prevention Unit (VPU) – managed by the provincial Department of Health and Wellness – was officially launched in Delft last year. Based on an Area Based Teams approach, the VPU saturates identified areas with provincial government, private sector, and civil society resources to include addressing the root causes of crime. The Premier added that this is in keeping with the WCG’s whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach.

Gangsterism accounted for 250 murders over the period under review. The Minister stated, “The mandate I have received from the Premier is clear: all gang-related murders in the province should be investigated under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act to dismantle and disrupt their criminal activities.” Lieutenant-General Patekile said the surge in gang murders can be attributed to intra-and inter-gang conflict.

Strengthening collaboration to address crime

The good working relationship between the provincial government, the South African Police Service (SAPS), and municipalities across the province was lauded by Lieutenant-General Patekile. “Partnerships are critical in helping to fill law enforcement gaps. Partnerships with communities are paying dividends. In all our operations in Cape Town, we have LEAP.” he said.

Boosting the number of SAPS members in the Western Cape is a key priority. The commissioner stressed that the province is receiving an additional 100 officers who will be deployed to the Anti-Gang Unit. “Forty have already started working,” he continued.

Premier Winde added, “The only way our Safety Plan will work is to keep building partnerships. Collaborations are cemented through layers like creating economic opportunities and strengthening youth programmes, that is how you build a safer society over time.”

To watch a recording of this week’s digicon visit: