Addressing questions around crime, gangsterism and general governance in an interview with VOC, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has said that he is focusing his efforts on reducing crime and improving public transport. Winde has implied that the Western Cape and South Africa can be argued as being considered a warzone by UN standards and that he sees the presence of the SANDF in the province as assisting in getting things done.
“We’ve got to try different things to make a difference…if they don’t work, [we will] cut them fast and bring the next thing in,” said the premier.
“We are 4500 policemen and policewomen too few in the Western Cape, compared to the average police-to-population ratio. We also have a massive crime and massive murder rate. We’ve got a problem and the national minister [of police] should be putting resources into the problem…”
The premier argued that the province is not getting the resources it requires from Police Minister Bheki Cele and that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has consequently declared an intergovernmental dispute.
Winde is hoping that the dispute – which he says will wind up being one where the court decides on whether the province needs more resources or not – will find the court making a ruling in favour of the premier’s party, the DA.
“We declared an intergovernmental dispute, which is one of those disputes that end up in court and the court decides whether you need more resources or not,” said the premier.
“Crime is out of control…we have some hectic murder rates. The United Nations says that if there are more than 1000 murders in a region per year, you can be considered a warzone. We had 3600 murders last year in the Western Cape.”
Premier Winde says that provincial government’s focus will now be implementing a “big safety plan” and ensuring that people are able to feel safe.
“Every six weeks I’m going to have a safety cabinet meeting…The cabinet will ask the criminal justice system to report on how many people are imprisoned, how many are let out, whether the victims know the person has been let out, whether police stations and precincts where the offenders come from know that they have been let out, what the conviction rates are and so forth.
People must be able to feel safe – especially women and children.”
Addressing the scourge of gender-based violence, the premier has said that men need to take responsibility and nip these issues in the bud.
“Men have got to take much more responsibility and stand up and make sure that when we see things going wrong, that we deal with it.”
Premier Winde has simultaneously said, however, that policing alone is not the solution to crime in the province.
He confirmed that every minister in the provincial cabinet has a safety priority now and that government is looking at interventions to prevent the allure of gangsterism, rather than to just combat gang violence.
“It’s not about policing yourself out of crime, its about setting the foundation and getting the foundational changes to happen,” he said.
The premier can be contacted via e-mail on: firstname.lastname@example.org
He has welcomed anonymous tip-offs on crime and has promised to ensure that raids are done on the places that need them.