Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele NkosiMalobane has promised to reduce crime in the province by 50 percent by 2019
The Gauteng Department of Community Safety is taking a proactive stance against social ills affecting the province. With gender-based violence, crime, drug and substance abuse, and corruption in law enforcement as examples of some of the challenges facing the province, the department understands that it must tackle these problems with force, while also demonstrating care for communities.
Gauteng Community Safety
MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane has promised to reduce crime in the province by 50 percent by 2019, saying that there is a collective commitment by provincial government, the South African Police Service, law enforcement agencies and community policing forums (CPFs) to work towards this goal.
To achieve this, the department has put in place several strategies to make public and private spaces in the province safer for
MEC Nkosi-Malobane said the department has prioritised improving the performance of police stations and enhancing police visibility in various communities.
“We have identified 40 poor performing police
stations around the province, which have contributed to the high crime rate in these areas,” she said, explaining that safety kiosks will be established at these high-risk precincts to improve police visibility and community involvement in fighting crime.
In its oversight role, the department will pay regular visits to all 142 police stations in the province, using the opportunity to evaluate each station's monthly performance in service delivery, auditing and frontline service delivery.
In addition, quarterly review sessions will be held to analyse the impact of the Provincial Integrated Policing Plan across all law enforcement agencies and develop the necessary interventions to strengthen the coordination of resources in the province.
MEC Nkosi-Malobane stressed the importance of communities and the police building good relationships.
“As part of building a social movement against crime, the department intends to position CPF structures as necessary vehicles to assist with the coordination of social crime
prevention and policing oversight at a local level,” she said.
The murder rate in Gauteng is one of the major concerns of the department.
“Murder cases have increased by 30 percent in three policing precincts in eastern Johannesburg. This is an increase from
136 murders to 177 murders from April 2016 to February 2018.The department is deeply concerned about this phenomenon and has instructed Provincial Police Commissioner Deliwe De Lange to work around the clock to ensure that this is improved upon,” said MEC Nkosi-Malobane.
She added that the lack of resources and staff were contributing factors to the rise in the murder rate.
“One of the immediate interventions for this financial year is the procurement of 10 new vehicles for Jeppe Police Station, three for Cleveland Police Station, one for Yeoville and two for Sandringham,” said MEC Nkosi-Malobane.
Newly graduated police academy students have also been deployed to Jeppe, Cleveland and Yeoville police stations.
MEC Nkosi-Malobane acknowledged that the most pressing issue facing the department is that of gender-based violence.
“We have witnessed some of the most horrific murders of young women in Gauteng in the past year.The cases of Karabo Mokoena and Lerato Moloi, to mention a few, have caused public outrage and debate. A total of 65 women were killed in the past year because of gender-based violence and the police have done a sterling job thus far by arresting 65 people in connection with these murders,” she said.
The MEC is pleased that harsher sentences are meted out to perpetrators of gender-based violence.
“Karabo's murderer Sandile Mantsoe was sentenced to an effective 32 years in custody. The criminal justice system has also managed to restore some hope with the sentencing of serial rapist Nothile Dlamini. Dlamini raped, kidnapped, robbed and terrorised taxi passengers around the Booysens, Soweto and the Roodepoort policing precinct last year,” she noted.
A crucial instrument in helping victims of violence is Ikhaya Lethemba, a victim empowerment centre for women started by the department in Braamfontein. It is a sanctuary for victims of genderbased violence, said the MEC.
“Ikhaya Lethemba is a holistic psycho-social service that includes crisis support programmes, counselling and therapeutic interventions. Interventions such as skills development, recreation and life skills, case tracking and a support system within the criminal justice system are linked to long-term empowerment strategies that strengthen gender equality and respect women as active agents in the rebuilding of their own lives.”
The department also offers other empowerment platforms such as its shelter network, a sexual offences forum and seminars for sexual offence survivors.
MEC Nkosi-Malobane said that substance abuse is often at the heart of crimes.The department has partnered with stakeholders within the private and public sector to address the problem, especially among the youth.
The department works closely with the Department of Social Development and non-governmental organisations to help addicts. It recently partnered with Rainbow FM in a drug awareness campaign in Florida and has embarked on door-to-door campaigns in a few areas to create a platform for youth and their parents to communicate and seek help.
“We are addressing drug abuse through the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Programme. Through this, we are cleaning up hot spots where the youth hang out and do drugs.
The department recently extended its operations to Heidelberg, where a former drug addict, gang leader and ex-convict is spearheading dialogue programmes to mobilise the youth in the area. This leader was reformed through a youth dialogue programme in the area,” said the MEC.
The department also carries out law enforcement raids in drug hotspots, but it has focused its efforts on prevention and the empowerment of communities to take charge of their situation.
She said that communities in Soshanguve, Garankuwa Pretoria Central, Rietgat, Temba, Duduza, Windmill Park, Tembisa South, Norkem Park, Kempton Park, Ratanda, Sebokeng, Evaton, Germiston and Ivory Park are deeply affected by drug addiction.
“The department is helping these areas get involved in community safety structures so that they can become active citizens. We are encouraging the youth and women to become safety promoters and community patrollers, and to join CPFs,” she said.
Helping the youth
With the youth in the spotlight this month, MEC Nkosi-Malobane said the department has several tools to help young people and prevent them from engaging in criminal activities.
“Programmes such as the Tertiary Institution Safety Indaba, which includes 150 student leaders, is geared towards addressing challenges encountered by students on and off the campus. There is a special focus on gender-based violence, substance abuse, safety and security,” the MEC explained.
The department also conducts a Young Women's Leadership
Boot Camp for 200 volunteers.The camp focuses on the empowerment and capacity building of young female volunteers, who help to mobilise communities to assist with crime reduction. A Youth Safety Summit at which the youth come together to discuss crime and find solutions is also held.
Providing young people with employment opportunities is a successful crime deterrent.The department conducts the Tshepo 1 000 000 Programme, which helps youth between the ages of 18 and 35 find work.
Rooting out corruption
MEC Nkosi-Malobane stressed that the department will continue its tough stance against corruption within its ranks, saying it is a serious contravention of the ethics and code of conduct for those employed in the law enforcement fraternity.
“Law enforcement officers are supposed to display the highest level of integrity in discharging their duties. As government, we will continue with our mandate to root out this immoral behaviour and ensure that anyone found guilty faces the full might of the law. No one will be allowed to tarnish the image of law enforcement under our watch,” she said.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane leads a substance abuse campaign in Burgershoop in Mogale City.