Budget 2016 – No mention of promised Specialised Drug and Gun Units
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I call on the National Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, to urgently release details of the budget amount allocated for specialised units, given that both his and President Zuma’s promises over the last year remain unfulfilled.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced a 5.8% increase (R4.8 billion) for police services. This is really nothing more than an inflation-linked increase and includes no reference to the new and much needed Specialised Drug and Gun Units announced by President Zuma during his State of the Nation reply.
Without adequate budget allocation for the new specialised drug and gun units, these units will remain a pipe dream while the people of the Western Cape continue to be killed by gangsters.
Minister Nhleko needs to urgently provide the details about the new units’ implementation as the implications for the units not being up and running are a matter of life and death.
The people living in the Western Cape’s gang hotspots live in daily fear of being killed, and their patience is worn out by promises which never materialise. The province contributes more than a third of the total drug related crime in the country and illegal guns in our communities are wreaking havoc in the hands of criminals, gangsters and drug lords - yet we wait and wait for a specialised intervention from the National Minister of Police.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) is under resourced and the Western Cape has historically been hampered with staff shortages and a lack of physical resources such as vehicles.
I have been calling for the reintroduction of the Specialised Gang and Drug units since 2011 as these units possess the necessary resources and expertise to investigate thoroughly and make concrete arrests which lead to convictions in court.
The establishment of specialised gun and drug units would be a relief to the Provincial SAPS who have been struggling to make inroads against gangsterism and drugs with as little as 3% of gang murder cases ending in conviction.
The Western Cape Government will continue, through its oversight mandate over policing in the province, to mount the pressure on National Government until these units are introduced, functionally staffed, adequately resourced and provided with the mandate to take those responsible for drug and gun crimes in our province off our streets.
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