Pro­vin­cial fo­cus

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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

ev­ery­one.

Im­prov­ing policing

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.

Tack­ling chal­lenges

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.

Gen­der-based vi­o­lence

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.

Sub­stance abuse

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.

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