Medium Term Budget Policy Statement delivered by Minister Alan Winde | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Medium Term Budget Policy Statement delivered by Minister Alan Winde

30 November 2018

The budget speech below was delivered in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today, by the Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde.

The Department of Community Safety’s main appropriation of R316 617 000 has been adjusted upwards to R343 424 000. This adjustment of R26 807 000, will among others be spent on:

  1. K9 Dog Unit
  2. Police Reservists, if agreed to by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele 
  3. Neighbourhood Watch structures


MEDIUM TERM BUDGET POLICY STATEMENT

30 NOVEMBER 2018

DEPARTMENT of COMMUNITY SAFETY

VOTE 4

Honourable Speaker,

Honourable Premier,

Honourable Members,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Madam Speaker, the residents of our province are united in their desire to live in an environment that is safe and secure, where they don’t have to be fearful that they might be attacked, injured or worse, killed.

For many, however, this desire is unattainable. We have a prevalence of communities which are living in fear, where residents say they feel like hostages in their homes due to the threat of violence, shootings and muggings in their areas. 

The 2017/18 Victims of Crime Survey also paints a dire picture of how residents view crime in the province, with 84% of respondents believing that it has either remained the same, or is increasing.

Honourable Speaker, these perceptions are completely understandable – when you look at the front page of any newspaper, you find story-after-story of people being assaulted, mugged or killed. Indeed, a dire reality that we are faced with.

It is for this reason that it is welcoming to note that our main appropriation of R316 617 000 have been adjusted upwards to R343 424 000. This is an adjustment of R26 807 000.

This upward adjustment is in direct response to the 2017/18 crime stats, which clearly demonstrate that there is a need to prioritise efforts to address crime, especially gangsterism in our communities. The stats shows that murder increased by 12,6%, and attempted murder increased by 9,2%.

Of all gang related murders across the country, 84% were committed in this province. 22% of all murders here are due to gang violence. We are currently in the 16-days of activism campaign of no violence against women and children, and it will be remiss of me not to mention that domestic violence is the cause of 5,6% murders.

Honourable Speaker, it is our poor communities, our most vulnerable and innocent, that are facing and experiencing the brunt of these violent acts.

As a department, our aim is to achieve community safety. This we will continue to do by promoting professional policing through effective oversight as legislated, but we will also bolster our own programmes to address crime directly. These include improving safety partnerships with communities and other stakeholders, ramping up the support we offer to community crime fighting structures, and promoting safety in all public buildings and spaces, especially where members of the public visit.  In short, we will be doing more.

HOW THE DEPARTMENT WILL SPEND ITS BUDGET

Honourable Speaker, we understand that it is impossible for the police to ensure our safety by themselves, even though that is their mandate. The police have not been given the necessary resources, a failure of the national government, and their task has become extremely difficult.

We have allocated R7 million for programme 2, of which R5 million will be used to combat unrest in our communities, and the harms this causes to innocent residents and infrastructure. We have all witnessed the increased number of violent protests throughout the province. The Overstrand- and Saldanha Bay areas come to mind, where protestors vandalised, destroyed and looted public property, valued into the millions. Infrastructure that is supposed to serve the community is being destroyed – to what end?

I implore honourable members of this House to engage with their constituents to put forward alternative, responsible and lawful mechanisms to address the issues they face, instead of resorting to violence an illegal behaviour. WE know these acts are generally perpetrated by small groups, and cause great harm to the majority of residents, who are eager for peaceful solutions.

To strengthen the purpose and functioning of our safety bases in communities, R2 million will be used for WiFi, linking these operations to technology.

In programme 4 - Security Risk Management, an allocation of R 17.75 million has been appropriated.

As part of the revenue retention, R1.272 million is allocated for the operationalisation of the jointly devised Safety Plan in the Saldanha Bay Municipality – a part of the Whole-of-Society Approach (WOSA) Project.

Honourable Speaker, technology and innovation can play a major role in combatting crime in our province, and we have to embrace it. This is why R750 000 will be used for safety and security technology, which is a further effort to ensure that safety partners are able to improve the effectiveness of their operations. Just yesterday, the Premier announced that the public WiFi service will be expanded and upgraded, giving more residents access to faster broadband. We will leverage of these innovations to further enhance the utilisation of technology to also improve people’s safety and security.

From day 1, I have been stating that we need to effectively support our volunteer community safety structures. It is through these structures that property related crimes, which includes residential- and business burglaries and the theft of- and out of motor vehicles, have year-on-year reduced by 6,8%.

I am therefore pleased that R2 million has been allocated to the professionalisation of Neighbourhood Watches. I have been travelling around the province, meeting with various community safety structures and what struck me most is that not all the neighbourhood watches are on the same level. We want to ensure that each structure has all the basic equipment needed, to be effective in their functions. These are committed men and women, who freely give of their time to safeguard their communities, and they deserve our committed support.

I’ve had the opportunity to go out on patrol with the Lavender Hill/Steenberg Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing Forums, and saw first-hand the difference their presence is making in the streets.

So we have these community safety structures in our areas, and they are quite effective, but we still see drugs and guns seeping into our communities. This is causing mayhem, as gangs fight over turf so that they can expand their areas of illicit activity.

Honourable Speaker, I am of the view that through our allocation of R15 million for a provincial K9 dog unit and highway patrol safety initiatives, we will be able to not only make a dent in these transfers, but completely eradicate the supply line. In due course further details will be made available about the operational deployment of these units.

We have been highlighting the fact that our men and women in blue are under resourced in this province, and this curtails what they are able to achieve. As much as our role is one of oversight, I have committed to the SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lt. Gen Jula, that I will fight for and with him, to ensure that the police in this province acquires the necessary support they not only need, but as is declared by law.

Taking it further, I’d like to reiterate to all today, we offer the national Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, R5 million for SAPS reservists, so that they can assist our dedicated police officers in creating a #SaferWesternCape.

Just last week, the Provincial Police Ombudsman reported back to this Parliament, that in the last three financial years, this province has lost 326 police reservists – this translates into 5216 policing hours that are lost, gone and never to be retrieved. Over the last decade the number of active reservists serving the police and our communities decreased by 84%. How much crime has taken place while our streets went unprotected, and will the national government take responsibility?

In the 2015/16 financial year, the number of active reservists totalled 1050, but this year the total number of active reservists totalled 724, a decline of 31%.

This report came after the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, Mireille Wenger, requested that an investigation be launched into the decline of reservist numbers in the Western Cape.

Police Reservists play a critical role in assisting the SAPS, functioning as a force-multiplier. Their role cannot be underestimated.

So Minister Cele, we are willing to work hand-in-hand to fight crime, even though you chose, as evidenced at yesterday’s press conference, to exclude both the provincial and City governments from crime prevention initiatives.

It is quite ironic that you are quoted in today’s Cape Argus newspaper: “Cele denied that he excluded Winde, …there is something called MinMec, where Ministers work with all MEC’s in the same portfolio. It is Constitutional. When we come to province, we do check the availability of the MEC’s.”

This is a blatant untruth being told by a supposedly honourable Minister.

Honourable Speaker, Minister Cele is further quoted as stating: “Policing is one area where the Constitution and legislation put the honours on the national office to do the policing work, not undermining other structures.”

The honourable members across the floor, along with their provincial campaign leader, Mr Ebrahim “Brown Envelope” Rasool, keeps on saying that the provincial government is responsible for crime fighting.

Quite clearly, your own Minister is correcting you. Policing is a national competency.

As the Western Cape government, we want to strengthen and support our dedicated men and women in blue, especially since the national ANC-led government is failing to do so.

R5 million is available right now, and I urge the minister to take it up.

PURPOSE

Honourable Speaker, it cannot be denied that crime has a major impact on all areas of our lives. If we are to achieve our aim, which is to ensure that our residents are able to live lives they value, lives of opportunity in which they can realise a better future, crime must be indiscriminately addressed.

CONCLUSION

Honourable Speaker, this adjustment clearly demonstrates our intent to deliver this reality to our residents. We are doing more than ever to take the fight to crime directly, noting the incapacity of the national minister to give the leadership and resources required to the police service in our province.

We want a Safer Western Cape for all, and we can only achieve this by each of us playing our role, and by working together.

I thank you. 

The budget speech below was delivered in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today, by the Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde.

Media Enquiries: 

Marcellino Martin
Spokesperson for Minister Alan Winde
021 483 3873 (o)
082 721 3362 (m)
Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za