The Western Cape Government welcomes the progress made in implementing the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry recommendations.
The Province is marking the 4-year anniversary since the conclusion of the Commission’s work on 25 August 2014, resulting in recommendations for improving police inefficiency, and repairing the breakdown in relations between the SAPS and the community of Khayelitsha.
Premier Helen Zille said the fight for increased safety in Khayelitsha was continuing.
“Our commitment to the people of Khayelitsha – and to seeing their safety concerns addressed – is just as strong as when we took the fight to have the Commission established all the way to the Constitutional Court. While we don’t have the operational mandate over policing – which lies with national government – we are prepared to push the boundaries of our oversight mandate to its constitutional limits,” said Premier Zille.
Department of Community Safety representatives were appointed to a Special Task Team to oversee the implementation of the Commission’s Recommendations.
Officials provided feedback to the Provincial Legislature Standing Committee on Community Safety today.
Substantive measures have been introduced in the past year to improve safety. These included the installation of eight (8) high-mast CCTV cameras, which represents positive progress towards a safer Khayelitsha.
The new cameras were enabled through the Provincial Government’s Alcohol Harms Reduction (AHR) Game Changer, which focuses on enhancing safety by reducing alcohol-related harms in Town 2, Khayelitsha.
Survey Results from March this year confirmed that 70% of respondents feel that Town 2 is now a safer place than a year ago.
In total, there are currently 24 CCTV cameras installed in Khayelitsha. The cameras have managed to record 194 crime incidents during 2017 and 2018.
These are monitored at the City of Cape Town Traffic Management Centre (TMC) for coordinated response by police and law enforcement officials.
“Technology implemented and utilised in the correct manner can have a massive impact on crime prevention and combatting. Sadly 8 of these cameras are not operational, largely due to vandalism,” said provincial Community Safety Minister Dan Plato.
Minister Plato said the provincial Community Safety Department was promoting greater coordination between law enforcement agencies, community groups, and the spheres of governments. This was helping to rebuild the trust between policing entities and the community in Khayelitsha.
An additional 12 City of Cape Town Law Enforcement officers have been deployed to the area. Law enforcement is also increasingly working together with Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs).
“The Department of Community Safety has managed to accredit 24 Neighbourhood Watches in the Khayelitsha Cluster. These community partners are now recognised under the Community Safety Act and can be assisted with training and resources. Another 10 Neighbourhood Watches are also pending accreditation,” said Minister Plato.
Premier Zille welcomed firm plans from SAPS on the construction of the new Makhaza Police Station.
“We have received confirmation that SAPS plan to commence construction of the Makhaza Police Station within 2018/19, to be completed by 2020. This is in line with Recommendation 19 of the Khayelitsha Commission’s report, and is a massive win for the community,” said Premier Zille.
The Premier cautioned that national SAPS would need to allocate more police officers to staff the new station, a critical point the Western Cape Government will monitor.
“The latest police-to-population ratio in Khayelitsha is 1:521. We won’t see improved results from a new police station if the intention is to simply spread police officers out more thinly. We need a new station, and more boots on the ground,” said Zille
SAPS is chronically short-staffed in the Western Cape; a problem the Public Service Commission has given national government 6 months to rectify.
Under-resourcing impacts on policing service delivery, which in turn jeopardises the progress made in rebuilding trust between SAPS and the community of Khayelitsha.
Despite the appointment of a unit commander for the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit in Khayelitsha, the unit still faces a 27% staff shortage.
Progress has nevertheless been made in reducing the case backlog of the FCS Unit, and the vacancies filled to date have been attributed to the leadership of Maj Gen Brand as Cluster Commander.
“Major General Brand’s commitment to the people of Khayelitsha will continue when he assumes office as the Western Cape Police Ombudsman. He has been a key part of the journey to implement the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry recommendations, Better Together,” said Premier Zille.