Arendse makes cheap pol­i­tics out of death of three boys

Cape Times - - OPINION -

EV­ERY few days when I see yet an­other let­ter from Colin Arendse, I won­der if as an ANC em­ployee he is paid by the let­ter he writes. At least it helps put food on his ta­ble af­ter his hu­mil­i­at­ing fail­ure in Wyn­berg dur­ing the pre­vi­ous elec­tions where the com­mu­nity re­sound­ingly re­jected his at­tempt to stand for a seat in the City Coun­cil.

The cheap pol­i­tics of Arendse and his party around the tragic deaths of three boys in Langa is noth­ing short of dis­grace­ful. The City of Cape Town has con­fined it­self to only a cau­tious state­ment warn­ing that al­lo­cat­ing blame be­fore the re­lease of the tox­i­col­ogy re­port would be pre­ma­ture and the pub­li­ca­tions and jour­nal­ists who at­trib­uted blame to the in­for­mal trader may ex­pose them­selves to le­gal ac­tion by her.

Let us be clear that there was no “slur” from the City about the deaths of the chil­dren. The City’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Depart­ment re­layed the ex­act in­for­ma­tion they had been given by Langa SAPS. The fact that the in­for­ma­tion had not come through their of­fi­cial spokesper­sons is ir­rel­e­vant. SAPS in­di­cated the City did not need to pro­ceed with a food poi­son­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion as other “sub­stances” ap­peared to have con­tam­i­nated the food. If an apol­ogy is due, it will have to come from the min­is­ter of Po­lice.

It is also en­light­en­ing to hear Arendse ad­mit the City has limited polic­ing re­sources and pow­ers rel­a­tive to SAPS: “City coun­cil has a mi­nor metro po­lice com­po­nent which acts in a sup­port­ing role to the na­tional SAPS. None of the metro cops have an in­ves­tiga­tive man­date.”

Only last week he was blam­ing the City for the re­cently pub­lished study which showed that Cape Town had re­mained bur­dened with some of the high­est vi­o­lent crime rates in South Africa. It is good to see he ad­mits it is the ANC gov­ern­ment who is re­spon­si­ble for polic­ing and the fail­ure thereof.

This week the Safety and So­cial Ser­vices Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee was pre­sented with the lat­est re­search on SAPS de­ploy­ment fig­ures. The hor­ri­ble truth ex­posed by the new re­search is that the po­lice sta­tions have po­lice de­ploy­ment lev­els much lower than leafy sub­urbs and safer parts of the city, with as lit­tle as half the ra­tio of po­lice. What a dis­grace­ful legacy the ANC na­tional gov­ern­ment pre­side over.

The na­tional ANC gov­ern­ment bud­gets show they will be re­duc­ing the polic­ing num­bers over the next two years by 3 000 of­fi­cers and Arendse should hang his head in shame they have be­trayed the peo­ple of South Africa in gen­eral, but more specif­i­cally the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of crime in Langa, Mfu­leni, Gugulethu, Delft, Khayelit­sha, Ma­nen­berg, Nyanga and Philippi who have fewer po­lice per res­i­dent than ar­eas with a frac­tion of the crime.

The City mourns the loss of the chil­dren in Langa, but we are re­spon­si­ble enough to point out that we should wait for the tox­i­col­ogy re­ports and we would never dis­hon­our their mem­ory by the cheap­est of pol­i­tics as Arendse and the ANC do here. Al­der­man JP Smith May­oral Com­mit­tee Mem­ber for So­cial Ser­vices & Safety and Se­cu­rity

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