Cosatu Playing Politics on Crime in Western Cape
Yesterday’s anti-crime march by COSATU to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament to hand a memorandum over to Premier Zille smacks of politicking and preys on the suffering of vulnerable communities.
COSATU knows full well that operational control over SAPS lies with the national government, and by extension COSATU’s alliance partner, the ANC.
Their march should have ended at the gates of their political masters over at national parliament, and not proceeded opportunistically to the provincial legislature.
COSATU should be reminded of the track record of the governing party nationally on policing:
- 85% of police stations in the Western Cape do not have the necessary manpower or resources to affectively address crime.
- The average police-to-population ratio for the Western Cape currently stands at 1:509, compared to the national ratio of 1:369. In Cape Town the ratio is even worse at 1:560.
- Crime is highest where police are most under-resourced. The average police to population ratio for the stations with the highest counts of murder and attempted murder in the province are far beyond the national average and include:
Nyanga – 1 per 628; Philippi East – 1 per 344; Delft – 1 per 642; Khayelitsha – 1 per 521; Kraaifontein – 1 per 609; Gugulethu – 1 per 590; Mfuleni – 1 per 529; Harare – 1 per 745; Mitchells Plain – 1 per 472; Bishop Lavis – 1 per 442.
- Nothing has come of a 2016 SONA announcement by then President Zuma to re-introduce the Specialised Units Gang, Gun and Drug Units.
Crime continues to be of deep concern to all of us. The continued killing of innocent bystanders, the onslaught on children and the normalisation of fear, death and trauma in our communities requires us to do everything we can to stop it.
We have to keep in mind, as per section 207 of the Constitution, that policing is a national competency. Intervention is immediately required and we continue to engage SAPS and the national government to address the crisis of police under-resourcing.
Urgent measures include the reintroduction of specialised units; the filling of all SAPS vacancies and deployment of additional officers to the Western Cape; the retaining of police Base Camps as a permanent feature of policing in high-crime communities; and the urgent boosting of police reservist numbers.
There remains a need to deploy the army as a peace-keeping measure in support of SAPS.
We can no longer tolerate the brazen defiance of laws governing our republic, which places gang-impacted communities under siege in a perpetual cycle of lawlessness and chaos. The use of the army in support of the police is a necessary step to regain control and stabilise communities that have been forgotten by the national government since democratisation.
Section 201 of our Constitution specifically permits the President to deploy the army to assist the police. We have, on 12 separate occasions, demanded this deployment to stabilise gang hotspots, but to no avail.