Extracts from Budget Speech delivered by Minister Reagen Allen
Extracts from Budget Speech as delivered by Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen on 29 March 2023.
Crime, particularly murder, is a giant. It is an evil that is plaguing our society and a matter that requires all of us, regardless of political affiliation or ideology, to do everything we can to combat it, so that our people can live in safer and dignified communities.
Although it is the Constitutional mandate of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to serve and protect the people of this country, they are led and managed by a national government that does not share our sentiments. Instead of working with us, the national government has decided to follow a route of destruction and mayhem. One that is causing chaos and damaging the fabric of our society.
There is no support to SAPS, and by extension, citizens are being left to fend for themselves. Sadly, there is not an alternative manner in which to describe how the national government is failing our people. Sadder still, is that they continue on this path, knowing that our people are calling for help – their silence is deafening.
If it is not known yet, let me make it crystal clear today – as the Western Cape Government, we do not seek a way out – we are not cowards, and this budget demonstrates that. Hope, that is directly linked to action and delivery, is what we offer our citizens, as they will not and are not getting it from the national government.
R 745 160 000 has been appropriated for the 2023/24 financial year.
R 350 million is allocated to the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP). LEAP is an initiative of the Western Cape Government (WCG) and is run in partnership with the City of Cape Town. LEAP stems from the Western Cape Safety Plan, which is a comprehensive plan to ensure greater safety across our province. A plan that is particularly focussed on reducing the murder rate by 50% by 2029. If you enquired from the national government now what their plan is to combat crime or murder in the Western Cape and how are they going to capacitate SAPS, they would not be able to provide a response, nor a plan.
This allocation will ensure that the continued boots on the ground to assist and strengthen the hand of the SAPS are sustained, as we cannot allow our residents to continue living in fear. The largest LEAP deployment, which is based on data, evidence and where the need is greatest, is Delft, followed by Mfuleni, Kraaifontein, Nyanga and Khayelitsa (Site B). Since its inception, these officers have ensured that 327 firearms have been removed from our streets. This is a significant feat and demonstrates their commitment to making our streets safer.
Further to this, we have set R 10 million aside for the introduction of LEAP stations. This is groundbreaking news, as not only will it ensure that our LEAP officers have an additional base to be deployed from, but it also ensures that residents have a space where they can now engage our officers, should they feel uncomfortable to go to a SAPS station.
RURAL SAFETY UNITS
We are fixated on provincial safety, and not just in one area, but the entire Western Cape. We currently have two K-9 units based in the Swartland and Overstrand Municipal areas. These units do, however, not only operate within the boundaries of the local municipalities. Instead, they work throughout the respective Districts, where the local municipality is, i.e West Coast and Overberg Districts. They are continuing to play a significant role in combatting crime in their respective district.
The Overstrand K-9 Unit regularly assists with the discovery of illegally poached abalone and other illicit items. They are making huge inroads along the coastal areas, protecting both man and marine life. So too the Swartland unit, who recently played a key role in the discovery of a large cache of firearms and ammunition at a warehouse in the Malmesbury area. SAPS themselves acknowledged that the support and assistance from the unit was immense. I can safely say today that even though the opposition in this province will never admit it, SAPS has consistently stated that they cannot do without our K-9 units.
Further good news is that the Mossel Bay K-9 unit will also come online during the new financial year. This is yet another intervention we can look forward to.
R 19.6 million has been allocated for the further support of these units.
Our rural safety efforts do not end there, as we currently have two rural safety units also based in the Swartland and Overstrand Municipalities. The Swartland unit has already been activated, while the Overstrand unit will come online within the next few days. I want to encourage the honourable members of this House, particularly the committee members, to join us at the launch next week. I will ensure that your invitations are dispatched to you.
Just like our K-9 Units, these units will also operate throughout the District so that residents in our rural parts can feel safer and live in dignified environments. R 9.5 million has been allocated for the resourcing and continued support of these units. Extra visibility and extra boots on the ground, made possible by the Western Cape Government.
Just last week I had the privilege of handing over the graduation certificates to 39 Peace Officers who are from the Witzenberg, Bergrivier and Stellenbosch Municipal areas. Just under R 2.5 million is being invested in these officers, and they are now not only fulfilling the role of a peace officer and a traffic warden, but they are actively contributing to greater safety in their various areas.
Even in our rural areas, our action is direct and deliberate.
As we remain in our rural parts of the province, I can state that to support our Districts in their crime fighting efforts, R 6 million has been budgeted. Our focus through our Western Cape Safety Plan is the entire province, and as much as the greater need remains in the Cape Metro, we are not blind to how crime is shifting to other parts of our province. We are proactive in our efforts and will continue to work with our local spheres as joint planning, collaboration and support in the municipal space is vital if we are to ensure our people can live without fear.
We approach our work through a Whole of Government and a Whole of Society Approach. We understand that safety can only be achieved if the various spheres of government, along with all sectors of society work together. We will continue to strengthen our Community-Based Strategy, while aiming to build capability and partnerships with local communities through the continued support to District Community Safety Forums (DCSFs), Community Police Forums (CPFs) and NHW structures.
Currently, there are 611 Neighbourhood and Farm Watch structures, with a membership of over 17 000 volunteers across the province that are accredited by the department.
These accredited structures are supported with free training, resources, and funding. Over the last few weeks, I have had the privilege to personally hand over resources to a number of NHWs across the province. These include Beaufort West, Worcester, Wolseley, Piketberg and Mitchells Plain.
R 6 million has been allocated for the resourcing of our NHWs, while R 1 million is for Community Policing Forum (CPF) projects.
Without these brave and dedicated volunteers, our citizens will not be able to get close to our goal of ridding our communities of crime. They are significant and critical cogs in the fight against this evil in our society.
Our communities through the CPFs, NHWs and various other structures are ensuring that SAPS is fulfilling its mandate. Our oversight role is clear, and as a department with a stronger focus on seeking to ensure that oversight leads to greater and better service delivery, we are strengthening the hand of our Court Watching Briefs unit. This unit has continuously shown how efficient they are in highlighting areas of concern and where the SAPS is falling short. Not only do we want to now see that these shortcomings are addressed, but we want to make sure that there is no secondary victimisation, and instead that justice is served.
So as part of our Policing Strategy, we will continue to support mandatory and collaborative deliverables such as policing oversight through the CWB programme and the mandatory oversight of the police. We cannot have SAPS members failing our residents. It is enough that they have to contend with crime on a daily basis. We can’t still have men and women who do not deserve to wear the uniform or carry the badge to have an adverse impact on our residents.
I have to commend SAPS for arresting six of their members. Two sergeants and four constables aged between 31 and 42, linked to the Maitland Flying Squad were detained yesterday morning on charges of corruption. There is no place for corrupt, inept and allow me to be frank, useless officers in the SAPS. Behave like a criminal and you will be dealt with like one.
If there was ever a bias, it would be for the Chrysalis Academy. This is a programme that has changed the lives of so many young people across our province. The transformation that you get to witness in these young people continues to amaze me. I am certain by now; everyone is bored with my story that my best man is a Chrysalis graduate. If I think back to where he was, and the path he could have taken, this programme brought about a complete change.
An important aspect of this programme is that of women empowerment, and particularly combating GBV, which is so devastatingly prevalent in our communities. It is regrettable that interpersonal violence and crime continues to present considerable challenges within the Western Cape, as violence against women and children have remained high and on the increase. This is yet another matter that we all need to address with immediate effect.
R 25.2 million has been allocated to the Chrysalis programme, as we seek to strengthen our partnership with the Chrysalis Academy for the implementation of community-based violence prevention initiatives which target youth at risk.
Remaining with our youth and their empowerment, R 28.4 million has been allocated as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme. This is inclusive of a R 4 million conditional grant and a R 2.5 million allocation for Tourism Safety, which just as the LEAP stations is a brand new and groundbreaking allocation.
The Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) is an important entity in the regulation of liquor throughout the province. The important role they play within the liquor sector, particularly to reduce the harms associated with the abuse of liquor cannot be highlighted enough. Year-on-year this entity continues to be highly effective in the regulation of the retail of liquor throughout the province.
For the first time in its history, the entity visited all licensed liquor premises during last year. This has been made possible through an increase in the liquor inspectors and working in a strategic manner to get to all the premises.
The province’s third quarter crime statistics of the 2022/23 financial year has shown that the abuse of liquor, whether at a liquor outlet or where it was abused can directly be linked to various crimes. Where liquor was involved, 530 cases of grievous bodily harm/assaults were recorded, 292 rapes reported, while there were 34 attempted murders and 29 murders. Pertaining to crimes at liquor outlets, 125 assaults were reported, 10 rapes were recorded, while 12 attempted murders and 16 murders occurred.
To now further strengthened the work the WCLA is doing, R 56 million has been allocated. This is inclusive of R8.3 million, which was provided for the permanent appointment of 19 additional junior Liquor Inspectors to increase law enforcement capacity of the Western Cape Liquor Authority. This will ensure that inspections at liquor outlets are enhanced, so that the law can be upheld, while ensuring that outlets are compliant.
In everything that we do, our aim is to give effect to the Safety Plan, as we want to ensure greater safety throughout our province. Our priorities are clear; Provincial Policing function, NHW accreditation and projects, EPWP, LEAP, LEAP Stations, Tourism Safety, K9 unit resourcing and Rural Safety Units within district municipalities.