Media statement: Spy claims are ridiculous
It would appear that Premier Helen Zille’s recent Inside Government newsletter (The Puzzle of Gangs, Drugs, Police and Politics in the Western Cape – 15 October 2015), has touched a nerve in the ANC, particularly with Marius Fransman, the party’s provincial leader.
Mr Fransman has wasted no time in communicating on this issue, despite the fact that he is not mentioned in any piece of reporting on the matter.
Which begs the question, why? Mr Fransman has gone to great lengths, in recent reports, to make allegations that Premier Helen Zille had hired a crime intelligence officer to spy on the ANC.
It is an absolute falsehood, and there can be nothing more outrageous than this claim. We reject this claim in its entirety. Mr Fransman’s wild claims are nothing but an attempt to deflect from the real issue – serious allegations due before a court on 20 November 2015 of links between the drug trade, gangs, and politics in the Western Cape.
The matter involves the alleged unlawful seizure by SAPS of equipment and documents belonging to a crime intelligence officer.
The information seized allegedly points to the involvement of high-ranking police officers in corruption, and collusion with gangsters and politicians.
If there is anything to be revealed about any deliberate undermining of policing in the province, it will come out in court. If there is nothing to these allegations, then we all have nothing to be worried about, surely?
One thing is for certain – there is a substantive under-resourcing of SAPS taking place in the Western Cape, despite escalating crime. What the case may shed light on is the reason why.
The national average for the distribution of police officers is one for every 328 citizens. The ratio in Khayelitsha is 1:556. In the neighbouring Harare precinct it’s 1:878, in Nyanga 1:777, and in Mitchell’s Plain 1:427.
This is an unacceptable SAPS response to communities at the heart of 33% of all drug crime in South Africa, and some of the highest murder rates nationally.
Consider further that Gang and Drug Units are no closer to reinstatement, despite escalating crime. And since the specialised vehicle theft unit was disbanded, hi-jackings increased by 60% in one year. The absence of a specialized SAPS response effectively gave the criminals free rein.
Then consider that during the ANC years in provincial government, new police recruitments averaged 1,259 per year. During the DA years, recruitment dropped to an average of 460 per year -- a 60% decrease. The question is: Why?
While the mandate for policing lies squarely with the national government, the Western Cape Government has stretched our oversight powers over policing to the limits.
This has resulted in a series of national firsts - we have passed a Community Safety Act, created an Office of the Police Ombudsman, initiated a Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha, and rolled out a comprehensive support programme to neighbourhood watches, signing partnerships with hundreds of youth and religious groups.
Every step of the way we have been opposed by the ANC, and those with authority over policing in national government.
National Commissioner Riah Phiyega (now suspended) recently wrote us a threatening letter questioning the constitutionality of the Police Ombudsman’s powers, and several sections of the Community Safety Act.
The Khayelitsha Commission was fought unsuccessfully all the way to the Constitutional Court by former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
And the only response from the ANC to communities suffering without enough policing resources, has been to try and insult the public’s intelligence by peddling the obviously false claim that a mandate over policing lies with the provincial government.
We challenge Mr Fransman to support greater accountability by welcoming the upcoming court case on the 20th of November.