The crime statistics which were released yesterday, show that crime in South Africa has increased for a second year in a row. Nationally, the murder rate is at 49 per day, which is a national crisis. Safety can only be ensured through a whole-of-society approach and policing is an integral part of the solution. Police failures however set back other entities efforts to improve safety.
The Western Cape time and time again comes tops on service delivery indicators and Cape Town has the lowest reported levels of inequality of all the country’s major cities. The Western Cape Government spends the lion’s share of its budget and resources on education, health and social development. The province has no operational control over the police and only has a monitoring and oversight role over police efficiency and effectiveness. In this regard, it has established a Police Ombudsman – the first of its kind in South Africa – and dedicated resources to youth development and safety partnerships. Yet the murder rate in the Western Cape is the highest in 11 years and drug prevalence is on the increase.
Minister Nathi Nhleko can no longer delay re-establishing specialised units in the province. Communities have called for their re-introduction and it is a determined policing need and priority. Specialised units have proven to be an effective policing strategy. After the FCS (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) unit was re-established in 2010, the conviction rate went up 75%. This success must be replicated for gangs and drugs. Currently the conviction rate for gang related murders is below 5%.
The Minister must also provide the police in the Western Cape with adequate resources so that police officers have enough manpower and resources to prevent, detect and investigate crime. Police officers on the ground, who are doing their best with the little they have, need the support and resources. Filling the over 2000 vacant positions across the province is a priority.
The DA supports the idea that we as a society all have a role to play in increasing safety, but our communities also deserve a well-equipped, professional police service. The Police Minister and the national government have a responsibility towards the people of the Western Cape.
Mireille Wenger MPP
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety
073 814 9393