STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY; AND SOCIAL SERVICES, ALDERMAN JP SMITH
The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate has had just over R110 million of additional budget allocated to it via the approved City Budget for 2018/19. This additional budget will allow for the provision of critically needed equipment and additional staffing in the new financial year.
Following the approval of the budget for 2018/19 at a full sitting of Council at the end of May, this puts us in a position to get the ball rolling on bolstering our enforcement presence in communities.
We will spend R45 million on the appointment of additional staff within the Metro Police and Traffic Services departments. Thanks to our partnerships like the rent-a-cop initiative, the various City Improvement Districts will provide funding in the amount of of R4,1 million for additional, dedicated Law Enforcement staff. The additional staffing budget will also provide for:
· Additional platoon commanders and firefighters to staff existing and new fire stations currently being built
· Additional fire safety staff to ensure that we prevent the fires before they start
· Additional staff to bolster the ability of the enforcement services to serve summonses and execute warrants of arrest to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their transgressions (Operation Reclaim in Traffic Services and the Warrants Section in Law Enforcement)
· Additional resources for the Safety and Security Investigations Unit (SSIU) to ensure that it can support the enforcement services by watching briefs on priority cases relating to gangsterism, drugs, firearms, drunk driving, reckless and negligent driving and vandalism of state infrastructure
· Additional staff to support and train neighbourhood watches
· Facility Protection Officers to ensure that we safeguard our libraries, clinics, halls, sports facilities and early childhood development centres from vandalism and theft
Recruitment and training can be an arduous process, but I believe that the City will be able to fast-track these aspects, as we have, through our various volunteer and auxiliary service initiatives, which have groomed hundreds of potential candidates over the past few years. Our training colleges will be setting high targets for the training of Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service officers (reservists).
The increase in staff numbers is part of our ongoing efforts to expand the City’s policing and emergency services resources to compensate for the under-resourcing of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Cape Town, where the deployment figures are well below the national average. The need for more visible policing was further highlighted by the public inputs on the budget and the comments about the levels of crime, violence and lack of road safety.
During April 2018, the City’s three enforcement agencies arrested 1 159 suspects on a range of charges. They also confiscated 11 firearms and two imitation firearms. With the increased staff numbers, our statistics are bound to improve too and we call on the criminal justice system to help ensure successful convictions as this is really the only way that we will truly drive down our crime rate.
We are also making a number of significant capital investments in 2018/19 and beyond, including:
· R27,3 million for ongoing construction of fire stations in Masiphumelele and Sir Lowry’s Pass
· R20 million for the replacement of existing vehicles
· R43,6 million for additional vehicles
· R5,35 million for additional and replacement CCTV installations, of which R3,6 million is ward allocation funding
The capital outlay is aimed at improving physical visible policing by putting more patrol vehicles on the roads, while the spend on technological crime-fighting tools like CCTV and ShotSpotter are meant to act as force multipliers and to provide a more rapid response to incidents.
The City of Cape Town has been under increasing pressure to fill policing gaps that, technically, are not our mandate. We have come to learn that communities plagued by crime care little about the colour of the uniform and the mandate, they simply want service delivery. We are being supported by the provincial government in the roll-out of policing staff on the trains and stations and School Resource Officers at numerous schools across the City to promote safety and uninterrupted learning.
It is important that, while the City carries on driving housing initiatives and delivering the highest percentage of services of any city in South Africa, we also make our communities safe. Other amenities mean nothing if you are not safe and cannot access them or safely access education or jobs due to crime.