‘Pro­vin­cial po­lice idea delu­sional’

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BULELWA PAYI

THE DA has come un­der fire for call­ing for the es­tab­lish­ment of a pro­vin­cial po­lice force in the West­ern Cape.

But some ex­perts be­lieve de­cen­tral­is­ing the po­lice would be the an­swer to the province’s high crime rate.

Dur­ing the party’s reg­is­tra­tion drive in Bon­te­heuwel re­cently, leader Mmusi Maimane said the premier can­di­date and Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Alan Winde would fight for a pro­vin­cial po­lice force that could best serve the com­mu­ni­ties of the West­ern Cape.

But Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele’s spokesper­son lam­basted the DA, say­ing it should fo­cus on ser­vice de­liv­ery for the peo­ple of the West­ern Cape and “leave polic­ing mat­ters to the po­lice”.

“The West­ern Cape province has been and con­tin­ues to be top pri­or­ity in crime-fight­ing mea­sures. Op­er­a­tion Thun­der is yield­ing pos­i­tive re­sults,” Reneilwe Serero said.

She added the Con­sti­tu­tion stip­u­lated that the polic­ing man­date was given to SAPS, and there­fore it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the po­lice to pre­vent, com­bat and in­ves­ti­gate crime.

Maimane com­mended the City of Cape Town’s head of safety, JP Smith, for set­ting up a “spe­cialised unit” to fight crime, spark­ing an an­gry re­sponse from Bon­te­heuwel ac­tivist Hen­ri­ette Abra­hams.

Abra­hams said: “The DA must stop be­ing delu­sional. They don’t serve us. Most peo­ple are job­less, home­less and are vic­tims of vi­o­lence.

“We don’t see Smith, the metro po­lice and his law en­force­ment agents on our streets. The whole talk about the al­leged suc­cess is about get­ting our votes.”

She said she ex­pected Smith to con­duct a crime-pre­ven­tion drive in the area, as a by-elec­tion would be held in Ward 31 on Jan­uary 16.

“Let it be known that nei­ther JP (Smith), (mayor Dan) Plato, (Premier He­len) Zille or their DA head, Mmusi (Maimane), have re­sponded to any of our de­mands in our var­i­ous protest ac­tions over the last cou­ple of months,” she added.

Com­mu­ni­ties on the Cape Flats, in­clud­ing Bon­te­heuwel, took to the streets last year in protest over crime and gang vi­o­lence in their ar­eas, and called for ad­e­quate polic­ing.

An anti-gang unit has since been es­tab­lished by the na­tional po­lice min­is­ter and de­ployed in some ar­eas.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Dr So­madoda Fikeni agreed that the call for a pro­vin­cial po­lice force was a “an elec­tion ploy” as the DA knew the man­date for polic­ing was de­fined by the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“Why would an ex­cep­tion be made for one DA-led province when we have eight other prov­inces?” he asked.

But a crim­i­nol­o­gist at the Cen­tre for Crim­i­nol­ogy at UCT, An­drew Faull, said he be­lieved a de­cen­tralised po­lice force could help heighten ac­count­abil­ity.

“I think be­cause we have a top-heavy po­lice, this could lead to a break­down in com­mand con­trol and ac­count­abil­ity,” Faull said.

He called for greater co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the SAPS, the City’s law en­force­ment agen­cies and the pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties in cre­at­ing ef­fi­cient polic­ing.

| HENK KRUGER African News Agency (ANA)

A FIRE has gut­ted more than 30 homes in the sea­side town of Betty’s Bay and dam­aged at least 20 oth­ers. Fam­i­lies were forced to evac­u­ate their homes af­ter the blaze in the Over­strand mu­nic­i­pal area flared up on Fri­day af­ter be­ing sub­dued by fire­fight­ers. Res­i­dents were evac­u­ated from Betty’s Bay, Her­manus, Fran­skraal and sur­round­ing farms. See page 3

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