Today, Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde and the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Khombinkosi Jula committed themselves to jointly bolster efforts in fighting crime in the Western Cape.
At a meeting this morning, the pair agreed to strengthen the working relationship between the Department of Community Safety and SAPS in the province.
Said Winde: “As part of my commitment to working with the police, understanding their challenges and bolstering my department’s oversight role, I will be visiting ten police stations across the province over the next few weeks, with six scheduled for this month alone.
I mentioned my deep concern to the Commissioner that 85% of all police stations in the province are understaffed. The Western Cape’s average police-to-population ratio is 1:509. Residents of Cape Town have an even worse deal, with only 1 police officer for every 560 residents. The national average is one officer for every 369 residents. I told Jula in no uncertain terms that we will be taking the fight to the National Police Minister to ensure that Western Cape residents get the crime-busting force they deserve.”
“Over the past five years we have seen the national government radically deplete the number of police officers in our province, from 22 038 in 2013, to 20 969 today. This has crushed on our crime fighting efforts.”
“It is important that I get a firsthand account of the state of our police stations, what their needs and priorities are and how the department can assist. The first few police stations I will be visiting are Pacaltsdorp, Conville and George Central in George on Monday, 12 November 2018. I will also be engaging with Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing Forums, which are essential cogs in our crime-fighting machine.”
Further stations and dates, and a report back session, will be announced in due course.
“To further demonstrate our commitment in combatting crime and joining hands with SAPS and the various safety structures in communities, I have lobbied for additional funds from the Western Cape Government’s own account. In the coming weeks I will be making an announcement on this funding. In the meantime, let me assure criminals in this province that we coming for them.”
Minister Winde commended the Commissioner for:
– Agreeing to meet at least twice a month to discuss crime fighting efforts, to ensure that crime fighting strategies are aligned to current trends and needs,
– Supporting the process of filling critical vacancies within the six-month time frame as set out by the Public Service Commission (PSC),
– Agreeing to drive the agenda that crime statistics in this province are released on a quarterly basis. The regular release of these stats will provide a clear crime picture, helping community structures to assign resources to the most prevalent crime categories.
– Operation Thunder, and the difference it is making through the arrest of various high flyers, since the programme launched in gang-ridden communities, and
– Playing a role in re-establishment of the Anti-Gang Unit, which we hope will turn gangsterism on its head.
– Agreeing that there is a need to look beyond conventional ways of policing, and introduce technology to combat crime
The 2018 crime statistics revealed the Western Cape’s dire gang problem, with 83% of all gang-related murders in South Africa occurring in this province. It further shows that every day, on average throughout 2017/18, the Western Cape has seen:
– 10 reported counts of murder per day;
– 10 reported counts attempted murder per day;
– 19 reported counts of sexual offence per day;
– 116 reported counts of burglary at residential premises per day;
– 9 reported counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition per day; and
– 320 reported counts of drug-related crime per day.
“My hope is, just as the national government finally acceded to our plea for a specialised gang unit, other specialised units will also be reintroduced. In particular, we need to take the fight to druglords who feel no shame in taking the minds of our children hostage, and the illegal gun trade, which has caused rivers of blood to run through our communities.
“We remain committed to eradicating crime in the Western Cape, and with the help of all residents in this province, along with the police and other structures, we can achieve safer communities.”