Cape Town – With elections a stone’s throw away, the Weekend Argus spoke to various political parties to find out what they will be doing to help combat crime.
African Christian Democratic Party leader Grant Haskin said the safety and security of citizens was the government’s first priority.
“The primary task of the police service should be to maintain internal law and order and prevent crime.
“We strongly support a policy of municipal and community policing, whereby a twofold relationship exists between the members of the police and the community that it serves and protects.
“The Western Cape government’s priorities are skewed away from improving the safety and security of those who live in the province,” Haskin said.
“Only R1.1million in 2019/20 is allocated to all 291 neighbourhood watch (NHW) structures and its 14000 members annually.
“(Then) Community Safety MEC Dan Plato’s promise to increase NHW membership to 20000 by the end of 2018 failed to materialise.”
Haskin said of the Western Cape’s R67bn annual budget, only R359m is allocated to the Department of Community Safety, while R760m is allocated to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport – more than double that of Community Safety.
“To this end, we believe that provincial and local powers should be enhanced to facilitate effective police services, and that all policing and law enforcement operations need to be better co-ordinated.”
The ANC plans to reintroduce the policies that were successful when the party previously governed the Western Cape, according to provincial spokesperson Dennis Cruywagen.
“We will bring back the Bambanani anti-crime volunteers, who were highly effective in combating crime.”
He said the ANC would stop the constant carping about the efficacy of the police service in the province and demonstrate “their confidence in the men and women in blue who are honest, law-abiding and committed to putting criminals behind bars”, said Cruywagen.
“We will also urge the successful Anti-Gang Unit to step up its fight against crime.
“We will also ask the community to partner with us in turning the tables on criminals.”
DA Western Cape spokesperson Daylin Mitchell said the ANC-run criminal justice system delivered a 3% conviction rate for gang murders in the province.
“Justice is not being delivered to victims of crime. This is why we really need a well-resourced police service to make arrests.
“The real deterrent to crime is the sure and certain knowledge that criminals will be put behind bars.
“The DA will fight to have a provincial police service that is modern, honest and professional,” Mitchell said.
As part of the DA’s plan on policing it would establish more municipal police and expand the role of municipal and traffic police. It would start coastal patrol units in all coastal municipalities to stop poaching and drug smuggling.
“As long as the police are controlled by the failing ANC national government, our province will continue to be under-resourced and unable to fight crime,” Mitchell said.
The EFF’s Nazier Paulsen said crime was a symptom of dire socio-economic conditions and must be uprooted by creating economic conditions where potential criminals could have dignified jobs and career opportunities.
“While an EFF government in the Western Cape would address the socio-economic aspect of crime, we would also address the safety of our communities through establishing satellite police stations in every ward where there is no police station by 2024.
“We would reopen all police stations and satellite stations that have been closed, like the satellite police station in Uitsig, Ravensmead and Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain,” Paulsen said.
He added that the EFF would house police stations and satellite stations in properties owned by the state; and also ensure that all police stations have officers with specialised skills to deal with sexual violence offences and violence against women and children.
The EFF’s plans to help curb crime in South Africa include:
- Ensuring that all police stations have DNA kits, currently not the case.
- Retraining all police officers to process and investigate sexual violence crimes and intimate-partner crimes in a way that takes cognisance of the mental and physical health of the victim.
- The number of police officers will be commensurate with the number citizens in the station’s catchment area.
- Repairing all broken police vehicles by 2020.
- Purchasing additional vehicles to supplement the current stock.
- Absorbing all reservists and security guards into the police service.
- Ensuring visible policing in all communities 24/7.
- Imposing strict rules in gun ownership and recovering all illegal guns.
- Deploying a special task team to eliminate gangsterism and drugs in areas like the Cape Flats.
- Improving the capacity of crime intelligence to use technology to combat and solve crime.
- Train additional detectives.
- Re-capacitate Community Policing Forums and encourage the formation of crime watch and street committees in crime hotspot areas.
- Rewarding citizens who assist the police in prevention of criminal activity and solving crimes.
- Racism will be a crime and a punishable offence.
- Introducing special units for farming areas with aerial capability (helicopters).
- Using SABC and community radio stations and TV stations to educate communities about crime prevention and community policing.
- Ensure that all immigrants are documented by the new Department of Home Affairs and Internal Security.
The African Christian Democratic Party government of the Western Cape will, among others, double the budget for community safety, giving funding to:
- Strengthening, training and equipping community volunteer safety structures, including neighbourhood watches and community police forums and co-ordinating their work with policing and law enforcement operations.
- Substantially and tangibly promoting and improving community-police relations.
- Ensuring the implementation, with municipalities where relevant (for example improving public lighting) all recommendations of the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry, in particular, those the provincial government has failed to implement fully.