Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has initiated the next step in the intergovernmental dispute process on police resourcing, after national Police Minister Bheki Cele failed to respond to the declaration notice sent to him more than a month ago.
The provincial cabinet declared the intergovernmental dispute with Minister Cele due to the national government’s failure to address crime in the province and unwillingness to engage on critical policing resource shortages in communities.
“I wrote to Minister Cele in October and again in December detailing the urgent policing needs of the province and finally, after no response to those letters, instituted an intergovernmental dispute in April. Minister Cele has once again failed to respond. This extended period of silence now allows us to unilaterally decide on a date for a mediation meeting to take place,” Premier Winde said.
“We have identified the 4th of July as a date suitable for the meeting. In that meeting, we will determine the precise nature of the dispute, identify mechanisms other than the courts to resolve the dispute and then agree on a mechanism and its implementation,” Premier Winde said.
“We’re giving Minister Cele an opportunity to avoid costly and lengthy litigation, but his window is closing, and I would urge him to take it up before it’s too late. Our residents deserve his cooperation, but all we’ve received to date is stony silence. I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that this province has the resources in order to make it safer for our citizens,” he said.
The urgent policing needs and priorities, as set out in previous communication to the national minister include:
-The allocation of sufficient policing resources to the Western Cape
-The historic under resourcing of the province, which has resulted in the Western Cape having 4500 fewer police officers than it actually requires.
-The allocation of crime intelligence and visible policing resources to all stations situated in gang zones in the City of Cape Town
-Ongoing attacks on people, property and infrastructure related to public transport
-Attacks at schools and on teachers
-Destruction of state infrastructure
-The need for more Public Order Policing resources in order to effectively deal with land invasions and public unrest
-Confirmation of support for the Reservists Project, which the Western Cape Government has agreed to fund in order to source additional police resources.
“This past weekend, we saw far too many instances of gang violence in our communities with an alleged 14 fatalities in a period of 24 hours. Our people live in fear, and our young people are under attack.”
“As a province, we are stretching our oversight role as far as we possibly can, but withouteffective enforcement, driven by police numbers, crime intelligence and proper management, crime is going to continue to run rampant in both our urban and our rural areas,” Premier Winde said.
“I appeal to Minister Cele to uphold the oath of office he has just recently taken again by ensuring that he is responsive to the policing needs of all the people of South Africa, including those in the Western Cape. I therefore urge him to clear his diary for this important engagement.”