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Statement by MEC Plato - Urban Safety Report: Urgent resourcing of SAPS required

23 August 2017

Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety

 

Urban Safety Report: Urgent resourcing of SAPS required

 

Date: 23 August 2017

Release: Immediate

The State of Urban Safety Report released today should be a wakeup call for national police management.

The finding of a 40% increase in the murder rate in Cape Town in the last 5 years is in line with our own analyses of crime stats trends.

A clear trend emerges from these stats: the majority of violent crime in Cape Town occurs within 10 policing precincts – representing just 7% of all precincts in the province.

There is a direct link between the high rates of crime and the lack of policing resources in these precincts. We agree with the report’s assertion that greater visible policing and enforcement of laws can help address violence and crime.

Urgent intervention is required from national SAPS to properly resource the police, if we are to collectively stem the tide against violent crime in the country and the Western Cape.

Recent reports indicate the exact opposite intention from SAPS: that national police management are planning to cut police numbers by almost 3000 in the coming years. Historically, 85% of police stations in the Province are considered under resourced.

President Jacob Zuma’s early 2016 promise of specialised gang, gun and drug units, has also not materialised. In fact, senior Hawks officials recently admitted in parliament that they have failed to make any arrests, convictions or confiscations relating to illegal firearms in the Western Cape.

As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province, I will place the lack of policing resources, as well as the Urban Safety Report, on the upcoming MINMEC agenda – the forum where National Police Minister Fikile Mbalula meets all 9 MEC’s.

The police remain the constitutionally mandated authority to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, and protect the inhabitants of the Republic and their property.

The City of Cape Town’s Metro police and law enforcement capacities, despite the good work they are doing to assist the police, can never replace the responsibility that SAPS has to serve our communities.

The Department of Community Safety in the Western Cape is also playing our part through our oversight mandate and the provincial Community Safety Act.

Working within our mandate, our Department:

  • Has legislated our support to both CPFs and NHWs in the province and has accredited more than 70 NHW structures since October last year;
  • Launched community based policing programmes such as the more than 50 Walking Busses in communities;
  • Focussed our education and information outreaches on vulnerable groups such as women and children;
  • Continues to run formalised youth programmes through our Chrysalis Academy and Youth Safety and Religion Partnership (YSRP) programmes;
  • Is taking the lead in our Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer to help address one of the biggest root causes of too many cases of interpersonal violence and abuse.

We can achieve so much more with a properly resourced SAPS. The people of the Western Cape now need the national police management to step up, intervene and assure all of us that they are as committed to improving the lived safety realities in this province.

Media Enquiries: 

Ewald Botha, Spokesperson

Cell: 079 694 1113