Specialised Units: Minister Plato to Continue to Champion Reinstatement
Media Statement by Dan Plato, Minister of Community Safety
The refusal of National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, to bring back specialised SAPS drug and gang units in the Western Cape will not deter me from continuing to drive this agenda on all possible platforms including politically, on the ground and, if necessary, with the president.
At a media briefing yesterday, Mr Mthethwa stated that he will not reinstate the units as Provincial Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer, who has operational control of SAPS in the Western Cape, believes that the current policing strategy is adequate.
I strongly disagree with this view.
Lieutenant-General Lamoer may believe that "SAPS has the situation well under control"; however, communities in the Western Cape, particularly on the Cape Flats, continue to live in fear as their areas are plagued by gang violence and drug-related crime. These communities have asked for specialised units and I will continue to carry their call at the highest levels.
Whilst I commend the work of SAPS in terms of the confiscation of drugs to the value of R10 billion, much still needs to be done to target drug dealers and curb gang violence in this province.
Specialist skills and expertise are needed to investigate, detect, arrest and ensure successful convictions for these types of crimes. Convictions are key in the fight against drug- and gang-related crime.
As I have said before, I believe we need permanent, dedicated and equipped specialised anti-drug and -gang capabilities in high drug activity areas in the province.
These units will offer:
- Dedicated teams working solely on drug- and gang-related crime.
- Specialist skills and expertise to investigate, detect, arrest and ensure successful convictions.
- Detectives who have full knowledge of often complex legislation and sophisticated organised crime.
- Adaptability to changing environments and the capacity to build up intelligence.
This is the way forward in making our province safer.