Voice of the Cape

From the news desk

‘SAPS needs to get its house in order’: Premier

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The Western Cape government has laid the blame on the national police minister for the province’s deteriorating crime statistics, saying inequitable police resources is the main problem. The long-awaited annual national crime statistics were released on Thursday, for the period covering April 2018 to March 2019. Over 21000 murders were recorded for the 2018/2019 year, an increase of 686 murders from the previous year.

In the Western Cape, Nyanga has retained its reputation as the murder hotspot of South Africa. This was followed by Delft and Khayelitsha which tops the list of the 30 police stations with the highest number of murder crimes reported. Mitchell’s Plain is number 13 on the list.

Premier Alan Winde said despite last year’s promises from Police Minister Bheki Cele, violent crime in the Western Cape remains effectively unchanged.

“I’m deeply concerned that murder increased by 6.6% in the Western Cape. Of these, 47% of incidents occurred in just 10 police stations. The murder to population ratio in the Western Cape is 60 per 100 000 – almost double the national average,” said Winde.

MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz said murders reported in the Western Cape account for 18.9% of all murders in the country, while the province only accounts for 11.6% of the population. Eleven Western Cape police stations are recorded among the top 30 in the country.

“This is unacceptable and points to the need for more boots on the ground and more regular statistics- at least on a quarterly basis, if not more regularly. SAPS needs to adopt evidence-based policing, which would lead to deployment at key times in key hotspot locations. We need our police to be in these hotspots before crimes are committed, not after.”

Premier Winde accused Cele of not being pro-active enough in tackling the province’s high levels of crime.

“Last week we saw thousands of people standing up against gender-based violence and crime. We’ve seen communities impacted by gang violence saying “enough”. But when asked about whether heads would roll, Minister Bheki Cele said he didn’t believe they should, implying he finds this situation acceptable. President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Cele should not find the crime situation in this province acceptable at all.

“As a Province, we cannot wait for SAPS to get its house in order. This government has been working on a safety plan which will focus on both enforcement and protection. We will announce this plan soon. In the meantime, we continue our call for policing to become a provincial mandate as these statistics have shown that the nationally managed SAPS have lost the war on crime.”

Fritz said his department will conduct an in-depth analysis of the crime stats, in order to shed more light on specific trends, crime categories and a suite of proposed responses.

“SAPS management have a lot to answer for, and it is my hope that they will be held accountable for their failure to ensure that the people of this country are safe and are able to access the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution of this country.”

VOC


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