14 November 2018
Provincial Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde has committed himself to collaborating and partnering with various stakeholders in the safety sector, to work towards making this province the safest in the country.
Speaking during the conclusion of the two-day Safer Western Cape Conference, which was held at the River Club in Observatory, Minister Winde said: “Making the Western Cape the safest province in the country will require a whole of society approach. I thank all the role players, SAPS, local and international experts, academics, civil society partners, all three spheres of government and community stakeholders, such as Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) and Community Policing Forums (CPF) for their inputs and proposals. It once again became abundantly clear that we are all responsible for safety in our society.”
The conference emphasized the complexity of the challenges we are faced with on our quest to become the safest province on the African Continent. There are clearly no silver bullets or one dimensional solutions to crime and violence. This must however not deter us from pushing back against the onslaught of criminals and those willing to use violence.
The conference clearly demonstrated the direct link between the availability of firearms and murders in the province, and this requires immediate intervention.
Minister Winde said: “We will, within the next 48 hours activate a mobile number that residents can dial to report where illegal firearms are being stored. This number is 078 330 9333, and the call will only be attended to by senior police personnel. When you report where the illegal firearm is located, and the police successfully confiscate the firearm, then the department will pay a reward of R10 000.
We will also, on an ad hoc basis as part of our government employee ‘volunteer’ campaign, release government employees, who are on a level 2 and higher salary scale, to act as Commissioners of Oath at various police stations. The government has 84 000 employees, and their deployment can make a significant difference, as it will release a large number of police officers from their desks, thus ensuring more police personnel are visible in our communities, fighting crime.
In terms of section 6 of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act, 1963 (Act 16 of 1963) the persons mentioned in the attached schedule are ex officio Commissioners of Oaths. They will be allowed to certify copies of documents as a true copy of the original.
Following the adjusted budget allocation, I will make a further announcement about specific support and empowerment plans that we have for our volunteer structures, such as NHW’s and CPF’s, as they are essential cogs in our crime-fighting machine.”
The conference, which aimed to identify implementable programmes in order to reduce violence and improve community safety, succeeded in getting a whole host of stakeholders under one roof, in order to achieve this. This included all 13 provincial government departments, including Premier Helen Zille, as well as key national departments, the National Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, the National Civilian Secretariat for Police, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Jula, representatives from local government, Neighbourhood Watches, Community Policing Forums, NPO’s and civil society.
Presentations were made by SAPS about the reality of crime in the province, by organisations focused on gender-based violence, by the public transport sector, to address the failed public transport system and the environmental sector as there is a disregard for the safekeeping of our environment.
Minister Winde said: “I will continue to engage with various structures and organisations who made presentations at the conference. We need a clear and implementable plan to immediately address the continued attacks on our women and children, to further empower the Rail Safety- and Anti-Gang Units, to urgently restore safety in the failed public transport system and address the gang violence across the province and to protect our environment. Key to this is empowering communities to take back their streets, and this is a role my department and the entire Western Cape government will play very strongly in the future.
“We still have a long way to go to making this the safest province in the country. I am hopeful that the immediate interventions, such as the reward to report an illegal firearm and the government volunteer employee campaign, will serve as initial catalysts to achieve this. My message to criminal elements in that together with communities, we are going to be doing much more,” said Minister Winde.