More police on the ground for festive season, but is it enough, ask Western Cape CPFs | News24

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Police parade at the launch of the Safer Festive Campaign at the Rocklands Sports Field on November 15, 2022 in Mitchells Plain.

Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

  • Additional policing resources are expected to be deployed in the Western Cape over the festive season.
  • However, some communities say it is not enough to address the levels of crime they face.
  • CPFs have argued that resources need to be focused on the Cape Flats and other crime hotspots.

The Western Cape is expected to receive an influx of policing resources ahead of the festive season. However, some residents of crime-ridden areas say they doubt that the extra boots on the ground will make a lasting impact.

During the launch of the South African Police Service Safer Festive Season campaign in Cape Town this week, Police Minister Bheki Cele said there were more than 10 000 recruits. The programme has been launched in four provinces.

The Western Cape is expected to see more than 1 000 of those recruits swell the police service’s ranks. Cele said that, in addition, patrol vehicles had been deployed to policing areas around the Cape Flats.

Mobile community service centres are being installed in Vrygrond and Dunoon in Cape Town, as well as Zwelihle in Hermanus.

“This display of force should serve as a warning shot to criminals but also demonstrate the commitment by this ministry and SAPS management to support [and] to improve police service delivery,” Cele said.

“We want this in all provinces as it will allow the police to continue to respond to all opportunistic criminal elements, not only this festive season but beyond,” the minister added.

READ | Cape Town’s fight against crime is going hi-tech – with drones, cameras, and sensors

Cele warned against the misuse of the new policing resources.

“These brand new vehicles and mobile stations should not be abused and only be used for their intended purpose, which is ensuring South Africans and all those who are within our borders always have access to a police officer at all times,” he said.

Added to policing resources will be law enforcement efforts in Cape Town.

“The City of Cape Town has a comprehensive festive season safety plan each year, led by our Safety and Security Directorate, and supported by numerous other departments,” said City of Cape Town mayco member for safety and security JP Smith.

“Details of the full plan will be made public soon, but as is custom, specific areas of focus will include road safety, increased patrols around popular destinations like malls, beaches and other public amenities, and also fire safety, given that Cape Town experiences an increase in vegetation fires over the warmer months,” Smith added.

Bongani Maqungwana, Samora Machel Community Policing Forum (CPF) spokesperson, said the additional deployment was sorely needed, especially as it appeared that crime in the Western Cape was escalating.

He said:

These resources should be allocated to areas that need them the most across the province. ‘Troublesome’ areas don’t have cameras and rely solely on police patrolling. As much as the deployment is welcome for the festive season, we want the same numbers to stay in the province even after that period.

Site B Khayelitsha CPF chair Monde Bambelo said more resources were needed in the province.

“We are grateful for the boots on the ground, and it will go a long way, but we definitely need more. We want the police to have a proactive and not reactive role. More manpower is a welcome short-term solution, but being proactive helps towards the long-term goal of reducing crime in our communities. We need strategies in place to ensure these crimes do not happen,” he said.

Elsies River CPF chairperson Hamish Arries said his community was being “held in a vice grip of gangsterism and lawlessness”.

MITCHELLS PLAIN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 15: Minis

Minister of Police Bheki Cele at the launch of the Safer Festive Campaign at the Rocklands Sports Field on November 15, 2022 in Mitchells Plain

MITCHELLS PLAIN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 15:Police

Police parade at the launch of the Safer Festive Campaign at the Rocklands Sports Field on November 15, 2022 in Mitchells Plain

MITCHELLS PLAIN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 15: Minis

Minister of Police Bheki Cele, Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile and Gift of Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman at the launch of the Safer Festive Campaign at the Rocklands Sports Field on November 15, 2022 in Mitchells Plain.

MITCHELLS PLAIN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 15:Police

Police parade at the launch of the Safer Festive Campaign at the Rocklands Sports Field on November 15, 2022 in Mitchells Plain.

“We are excited that more boots are deployed on the ground, but the other issue is that the community needs to also work towards fixing itself from the inside. We say thank you to the minister, but we need more boots and more intervention when it comes to crime,” he said.

“Criminality and lawlessness are rife during the festive season. We have to be cautious and vigilant within our communities because the deployed police won’t be with us forever. Deployment should be highly focused on the Cape Flats, where it is needed most, and not at the beaches where people go for leisure.”

Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen said increased police visibility was the first step in crime fighting.

“The reality is that, currently, there is an approximate 10% SAPS vacancy rate across the Western Cape. Although more officers will be deployed, it does not address this shortfall. A great need exists to review how SAPS officers are allocated and deployed. Quite frankly, a full overhaul is required,” he added.

Allen said the devolution of the national police force would go a long way toward improving resource allocation.




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