Minister Dan Plato
Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Better Together is Increasing Safety
Speaker, the Department of Community Safety is the custodian of provincial strategic objective five, Increasing Safety in the Western Cape. At the very core of this philosophy, is the recognition that safety affects each of us: from the new born baby at the clinic, to the child learning her times tables at school, to the person clocking out of work in the afternoon and to the grandpa sitting on the stoop in the afternoon dusk. Speaker, by making safety everyone’s responsibility, we can increase safety in our homes, at our schools, where we work and play and on our roads. Safer Together. Better Together.
Safety however cannot be achieved in isolation – safety is everyone’s responsibility. This is why, when I was sworn into office some 9 months ago, I committed myself to building partnerships, because together, we can make our province a safer place to be.
Speaker, I am very pleased to say that the Department of Community Safety has during the 2011/2012 financial year achieved the highest accolade in terms of its financial management. During this year the Department received not only an unqualified audit, but a clean audit. For this, I wish to thank the Head of Department Dr Gilbert Lawrence and his management team and wish to also acknowledge the important oversight role fulfilled by the Chairperson, members of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport and Scopa who have continued to interrogate the actions and performance of the department adding considerable value to the work done.
The timelines according to which The Department of Community Safety plans to implement SO5, has now entered a very critical but exciting phase – the pilot phase. We are moving from planning to working and getting things done.
It is for this reason that The Department is set to receive a total budget allocation of R358 million for the new financial year, which represents a 16,6% increase on last year’s allocation. This increase is above inflationary indicators and Mr Speaker, this is a vote of confidence in the Department, a vote of confidence in its good governance, and a vote of confidence in where the Department of Community Safety is headed. Our budgets have largely been aligned to our SO5 objectives paving the way for some exciting new initiatives.
As Premier Helen Zille said in her State of the Province Address recently in this house, “Our strategy is set, our plans and budgets are aligned, the capacity of our organisation to deliver is constantly improving. What is required now is consistent implementation of our plans in partnership with other spheres of government, the private sector, civil society and every citizen of the Western Cape. Because however effective the provincial government may be by itself, there is no doubt that the Western Cape works better, together.”
The budget allocation across the five programmes of the Department is as follows; Programme 1, Administration receives R38,6m, Programmes 2 and 3, responsible for oversight, crime prevention and community police relations, receive R21,9 million and R49,3 million respectively. Traffic Management in Programme 4 receives R192 million and Security Risk Management in Programme 5 receives R56,4 million.
i. Securing the people and assets of the Western Cape Government
The Security Risk Management Programme, supported by the relevant SO5 workgroup, is shaping a strategy and action plan to improve the safeguarding of assets of the Western Cape Government and the safety of its employees and people utilising its services.
Speaker, ‘n voorlopige ontleding van ons openbare infrastruktuur is gedoen ten einde die omvang van veiligheid en sekuriteit hiervan te bepaal. Klem is gelê veral op ons skole en op ons hospitale. Die doel hiervan was om geleenthede vir verbetering te identifiseer en uit te lig sodat veiligheid opgeskerp kan word deur bestaande hulpbronne slimmer aan te wend en ook deur werkbare prosedure te identifiseer waarop gebou kan word. Die Departement is nou besig met ‘n breër en meer omvattende veiligheidsdiagnose.
‘n Beroepsgesondheid en -Veiligheid oudit is ook die afgelope jaar gedoen en ‘n eenheid is gestig om noodgevalle en beroepsgesondheid en -veiligheid kwessies by die Weskaapse Regering se fasiliteite in die middestad te koordineer.
The Department of Community Safety has revisited its processes and systems relating to the procurement of private security and guarding services. We have developed and piloted a management tool which not only ensures appropriate bid specifications and transparent and fair bid evaluations, but also assists in the management of norms and standards that are now being incorporated into service level agreements. Importantly, we are now carefully monitoring the services that we outsource. For example, if a security company is bound by agreement to provide 2 fully trained full time guards of a particular category to protect the entrance of a clinic, we are checking regularly and randomly that in fact there are 2 fully trained guards at that clinic. Speaker, we are ensuring that we get maximum value for our safety spend.
In the year ahead we will be piloting a new software programme to map and analyse security risk management processes, based on business improvement methodology. This will improve efficiency, be a big step towards a paperless environment, and radically redesign the way in which security risk management conducts its business and interacts with client departments.
ii. Increasing Safety through police oversight
Crime in South Africa remains a serious concern that affects each of us. Despite the massive increases in resources allocated to SAPS over the past 15 years, there has not been a comparative reduction in overall crime levels. Over the last decade, the police budget has ballooned from R8.7 billion to an estimated total spend of in-excess of R65 billion for the financial year ahead and the number of police officers has increased over the same period by just over 70%, yet resources at operational level remain a problem.
The sustainability of this approach by national government, namely to increase the rate of spending on the police as a strategy for reducing crime is questionable especially when considering other competing and compelling needs. We cannot continue to simply throw money at the police.
It is for this reason that the essential role of oversight over the police and other law enforcement agencies must be recognised and supported. Provinces have a legal responsibility to use oversight as a catalyst for improved policing in the province. The Constitution states that we are entitled to independently check whether the police service conducts itself appropriately, that the SAPS is accountable for how resources are used and that we monitor whether police are complying with standing orders and procedures. We are determined do this, to assist in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the police.
Speaker, with this in mind, the Department of Community Safety, after a diligent process, recently published pioneering legislation on police oversight. The Bill will be tabled in this house in coming months, once we have received feedback from the public and our stakeholders.
The Western Cape Community Safety Bill seeks to give effect to our Constitutional oversight responsibility, so that policing can be improved to the benefit of all the people of the Western Cape in support of our strategic objective of increasing safety.
The Bill is focussed on detecting patterns and practices of police conduct, identifying systemic problems and making recommendations on how best to improve policing in the Province. Speaker, I wish to emphasise that this Bill is also about setting out the responsibilities of the Department of Community Safety and how we fulfil our Constitutional obligations to the people of the Western Cape.
We are now in the process of engaging with our stakeholders and we are using all available platforms to inform the public about the Bill. Workshops with CPFs and communities are being hosted from Claremont to Beaufort West and from Outshoorn to Vredenburg. In these sessions we afford all people the opportunity to participate and I wish to give every person the assurance that their views matter to us.
Because safety concerns differ from province to province and from town to town, there exists no one-size-fits-all approach to crime. Our Constitution therefore specifically allows for differing policing policies for different provinces. This is because each province has differing needs and priorities when it comes to safety. A uniform police policy decided by Pretoria will only serve to alienate communities from the police, as the police will become increasingly removed from the actual needs on the ground. Many communities are rightfully feeling that the police are not responding to their often unique needs.
Die Departement fasiliteer jaarliks ‘n proses waarvolgens ons, in konsultasie met gemeenskappe, die Weskaapse polisiëringsbehoeftes en -prioriteite identifiseer as deel van ons grondwettlike mandaat. Artikel 206 van ons Grondwet, saamgelees met artikel 18 van die Polisiewet bepaal dat hierdie taak, naamlik die bepaling van die Provinsiale polisierings behoeftes en prioritiete, deur die Provinsiale Uitvoerende gesag verrig moet word.
Die polisiëringsverslag is ‘n belangrike proses omdat dit poog om die eiesoortige behoeftes van die provinsie te omskryf ten einde die ontplooiing van nationale polisie beleid en hulpbronne sodoende te beinvloed. Gedurende 2011 het die Departement ‘n opname onder 13,347 huishoudings gedoen in al die 149 polisiedistrikte in die Provinsie . Daar is ook met alle GPFs en die Wes-Kaapse Gemeenskapspolisiëringsraad gekonsulteer. Onderhoude met geloofsleiers, nie-regeringsorganisasies en verteenwoodigers van Besigheid teen Misdaad is ook gevoer. Verdermeer is daar ook gekyk na inligting wat bekom is gedurende ons inspeksies van polisiestasies en tydens ons hantering van klagtes uit gemeenskappe oor die polisie. Die uitkoms hiervan is ‘n eindproduk wat verskeie areas dek ten einde die Wes Kaapse polisiëringsbehoeftes in ‘n holistiese wyse te bepaal.
Hierdie omvattende jaarlikse verslag word tans afgehandel en sal binnekort aan die Kabinet voorgelê word. Dit sluit in terugvoer aan alle Gemeenskapspolisiëringsforums en polisiestasies aangaande die bevindinge van die verslag met die geleentheid om finale insette te maak en om kritiek en voorstelle te lewer oor hoe die proses in die toekoms verbeter kan word.
The Community Safety Bill seeks to further improve the way in which we identify the policing needs and priorities of our communities by expanding the scope of the report beyond research and perception surveys, to include facts and figures about the current performance of the police – be that good or bad. It is only when we measure performance against clearly determined standards that we will be able to identify the systemic problems faced by the police with the view to assist them making this process more holistic and more transparent. This we aim to do by means of a structured programme of inspections and consultation. The reports will be forwarded to the multi-party forum in the Provincial Parliament for debate and to collectively seek sustainable solutions. Speaker within the philosophy of better together we don’t see policing as a competition with any role-player, including national government, but rather that of a partnership with every person and every community aimed at increasing safety while adhering to the rules as defined in our Constitution.
Our oversight findings will be supported by quality research. With this in mind, the Department is refining the way in which we conduct our research in general and will, in consultation with strategic role-players, develop a transversal provincial safety research agenda in support of Provincial Strategic Objective 5, Increasing Safety.
The research agenda will identify key research areas in line with the Community Safety Bill and all the Strategic Objectives across all departments in order to direct our limited research resources to where it is most needed. We will facilitate a review of previous research studies done by the department and consult with all provincial departments and other stakeholders such as SAPS, CPFs and municipalities. This process should lead us to a holistic analysis and review of the research agenda in line with SO5. We have already had encouraging results this year with our CPFs on co-produced field work research and first level oversight visits to local police stations.
iii. Increasing road safety
Speaker, our Traffic Officers continue to work day and night to increase safety on our roads and to do their part in reducing road fatalities by 50% come 2014. Our Safely Home campaign which is run in conjunction with the Department of Transport and Public Works has seen some excellent results. We have already passed our targeted halfway mark as fatality statistics in the province show a reduction of 26% in this past financial year. The fight against drinking and driving and the roadworthiness of all vehicles remain a priority. In the last financial year and up until the end of February, 211 159 motorists were screened for driving under the influence of alcohol and almost 2 000 drivers were arrested while over the same period, 673 870 vehicles were checked at roadblocks.
We have embarked on a number of projects which are aimed at making our roads safer. The first of these is the Average Speed over Distance project (ASOD), which like the name says, calculates the average speed of a vehicle from the time it passes the first camera until it passes the second camera and then determines if the person was speeding. This project was piloted for a three month period, from November 2011 to January 2012 and is now fully implemented on a 72 km stretch of road between Beaufort West and Aberdeen, which forms part of the notorious “road of death.”
Since the start of this project, there have been zero fatalities on this road, previously known for its high number of road deaths. We will now be implementing this project in three new areas on the N1 between Laingsburg and Beaufort West, Beaufort West & Three Sisters as well as on the R27 West Coast Road.
Traffic’s second major project is the Fatigue Management project, which was part of the 2011/12 Festive Season Campaign and which we continue into 2012. The project sees all public transport vehicles including mini bus taxis being stopped and checked in the late evenings for vehicle compliance and an assessment of their physical fitness. This project has been conducted in Beaufort West and Laingsburg and from the end of December until this week, a total of 6 616 vehicles were stopped of which 1 110 were parked to rest as their drivers were fatigued. Since the inception of the project, no public transport vehicles were involved in serious or fatal crashes on this stretch of road. The project, which started out as a pilot, remains in operation and will continue to include the coming Easter Weekend period.
Our successful colour coded sticker project will be rolled out again over the Easter weekend. It is aimed at heightening road safety awareness in the public transport fraternity and marks all public transport vehicles leaving the City.
We are conducting 6-monthly vehicle inspections at test centres on all vehicles transporting learners to ensure that such vehicles are roadworthy. Staff at schools also do visual inspections of buses on school premises to ensure that the approved vehicles are used and that the roadworthy documentation is properly displayed in the vehicles. In terms of an agreement with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), only Provincial Traffic will perform roadworthy testing of learner transport buses. Over the period October 2010 to date, 7 207 busses were stopped, 18 drivers were arrested for various offences and 1 846 summonses were issued to the value of R1 432 800.
For the period of March 2011 to date, over R49 million worth of drugs were confiscated by our Provincial Traffic Officers.
Gene Louw Traffic College has trained the first 34 traffic officers on the first year-long FET certificate. Upgrading of the College started during 2011 and during 2012 the College will facilitate 1 formal Traffic Officer course, 5 Examiner Vehicles and 4 Examiner of Driving Licence courses, as well as refresher courses for traffic officers, firearm training, AARTO training, other specialised courses and driver training to Provincial Traffic Officers.
I wish to congratulate the Western Cape’s Provincial Traffic Services for receiving the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Quarterly Award for Most Impactful and Effective Road Safety Initiatives. The nomination and selection was made by members of the National Law Enforcement Technical Committee (LETCOM) who were impressed by the innovative ideas in respect of planning, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the projects rolled out by the Western Cape Provincial Traffic Services.
The RTMC indicated that 36 of the 38 initiatives of the Provincial Traffic Services of the Western Cape will now be incorporated into the National Rolling Enforcement Plan as part of the best practices obtained from the Western Cape, now being rolled out in all provinces country wide.
Ons provinsiale verkeerspersoneel bedien ‘n baie groot gebied. Hierdie personeel moet daagliks die onvoorspelbaarheid van die weer en die gevaar van die donker trotseer ten einde ‘n 24 uur diens, sewe dae ‘n week met trots te kan verskaf.
iv. Better Together – safety partnerships
Speaker, in this next part of my speech, I will focus on safety partnerships that the Department has currently fostered or will be forging in the coming year. These are some prime examples of how safety can be Better Together.
We have now hosted 2 Safety Summits, one in Khayelitsha and the other for various municipalities on the West Coast where a total of close to 500 people attended. Representatives from the Criminal Justice System were present, as well as representatives from various community organisations and local, provincial and national, government departments. The Safety Summits have provided an important opportunity for the residents of these areas to raise concerns regarding the Criminal Justice System and to workshop ways in which to make their communities safer.
In November, I hosted a large gathering of faith based leaders from areas affected by drug related crimes and violence across the province. More than 250 delegates attended with the aim of finding ways in which the valuable inputs made within the religious sector in preventing crime can be strengthened.
Through building partnerships we can prevent violence and increase safety. Importantly, the Community Safety Bill provides for a legal framework not only to solicit the help from our partners but very importantly also to design funding models supporting these partnerships ensuring their viability and sustainability.
We will be developing a unique Safety Partnership to develop and enhance safety models and strategies that support the roll out and Expression of PSO5. These models and strategies will be based on partnerships between Government, the private sector, the NGO sector, communities and citizens.
This innovative project will be outsourced to utilise broad based expertise in the field of Partnership and will be started up in April 2012.
Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) and Community Police Forums (CPFs) have an important participatory role in the whole of society approach, and remain critical safety partners. Speaker having said this we now have a reported 472 NHW structures with more than 38 000 volunteers.
This year we shall focus on the development of models other than providing NHW with equipment only. Our models aim to increase the efficiency of these volunteer structures where people give their time and often money and in return their only request is that the police will respond to the safety initiatives which they drive.
The Community Safety Bill provides for the accreditation and support of neighbourhood watches in order to improve the functioning and accountability of these structures. The Bill also provides for the strengthening of the directives regarding the establishment and election of CPF members and the Provincial Police board, with a view to depoliticise such structures and to strengthen their local oversight capacity.
Speaker, I am pleased to announce here today that we are engaging with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to oversee CPF executive elections so that this trusted organisation can independently verify that the election of CPFs and CPF boards is free from influence, according to procedure, and fair. We believe that this will go a long way towards strengthening the leadership of the CPFs and will thereby improve the safety contribution of these entities in our towns and cities.
All CPFs in the Province are supported with training. In the oversight model we are developing, we believe that the role of CPFs needs to be strengthened, so that these bodies are capacitated to perform their legal mandate in respect of the police. This model has CPFs visiting police stations regularly and providing much needed localised oversight. They are used to mediate complaints of the community at station level while checking to see that officers are on duty, that vehicles are in fact in service and that stations are in a decent condition. This information is being fed back to the Department via the internet, providing for real time information in support of our oversight role.
The Premier, in her state of the province address, mentioned the CPF pilot study we are conducting with 31 CPFs in both rural and urban areas. I am glad to report that despite some delays, the pilot study is well underway and producing good results. This allows us to move away from merely funding programmes and instead fund activities which we can verify by means of audits while at the same time ensure that much needed funding is channelled not to some CPFs but to all 149 CPFs in the province.
One of the important Constitutional mandates of my Department is the monitoring of police conduct in accordance with the Constitution. To this end we have established a dedicated 24/7 line (021 483 4332) to receive complaints and compliments about poor or excellent police service. These police service delivery complaints received by the Department, the SAPS and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) are analysed on a quarterly basis, which allows us to identify systemic problems and trends of poor service delivery in the province.
However, while we do receive complaints about service delivery, there is room for improvement in increasing the awareness of the public on how to report good and bad service delivery. To achieve this, my department has entered into in a partnership with the Institute of Security Studies to Promote Professional Policing with a campaign called “Reward a Cop, Report a Cop”.
The aim of this campaign is to combat police misconduct, including corruption, and to support honest, hardworking police officers in South Africa. It further aims to mobilise civilians to become more active in reporting good and bad police behaviour to help shape a culture of police excellence. We saw this as an opportunity to use this campaign to promote our systems for reporting good and bad police conduct. Promotional material for this campaign will be adapted to promote the Western Cape reporting channels and we will conduct information sessions in each of the police cluster areas to empower members of the public.
This campaign will also link to the Expanded Partnership Programme where the community police fora of the province are expected to play a much more prominent role in the monitoring of police service delivery at police station level. Through the campaign, members of the public that report police service delivery, whether good or bad, will be asked to provide a copy of their complaint to the CPF of that specific station so that the forum can keep track of the complaint until it is finalised.
Speaker, a prime example of how safety can be improved by making safety everyone’s responsibility through effective partnerships, is the City Improvement Districts or CIDs as we call them. These entities have made massive contributions in safety improvements in our City. There are now 23 CIDs in the metropolitan area, which focus on “crime and grime.” In recognition of their good work and contribution to safety, the Department of Community Safety will be entering into partnerships with at least 10 CIDs. Through this partnership, the Department will be providing crime prevention mobile units to CIDs in Woodstock, Wynberg, Muizenberg, Epping, Airport Industria, Maitland, Observatory, Parow, Paarden Island and Triangle Farm. Within these partnerships, we are in discussions for future youth graduating from the Chrysalis Academy to be placed with the CIDs to gain valuable work experience in various fields.
The Chrysalis Academy will be taking on 600 youth at risk in the next financial year. We have now incorporated learner license training into the programme as it is clear that a drivers’ license is a valuable asset when looking for work. We have arranged that Government Garage vehicles not in use are loaned to the Academy so that students can practise their driving lessons. We furthermore plan to incorporate these youngsters in the expanded public works programme allowing them to, on completion of their training, share in the dignity that comes with earning money and gaining valuable work experience.
Speaker, gangs remain a particular scourge in the Western Cape and a root cause of the many safety concerns that exist within our communities. Furthermore, there is a well-established link between gangs and drugs. This Province has the highest number of drug related crimes in South Africa. 70 588 drug related crimes were reported in 2010/11, which means this province accounts for more than half of the total number of these crimes nationally. The 2010/11 statistics also show that the Western Cape had more than double the amount of reported drug crimes compared to the second highest province. The Western Cape population totals 10% of South Africa’s total population, yet accounts for 60% of all of the country’s drug crimes.
At the same time, gang violence is rife in the Western Cape and has recently spread to areas not traditionally associated with gang activity and gang members are becoming increasingly young and we are finding that even young girls are now becoming involved in gangsterism. There is no doubt that serious interventions are needed to drastically reduce drug and gang-related crime. Specialised policing units have proven to be an effective strategy as they offer: dedicated teams working solely on specific crime categories; specialist skills and expertise needed to investigate, detect, arrest and ensure successful convictions; detectives who have full knowledge of often complex legislation and what is often sophisticated organised crime; and specialised units are adaptable to changing environments and modus operandi and have the capacity to build up intelligence. These units do not replace ordinary policemen and women, they are still vital in our fight against crime, but specialist units provide a focused and dedicated function that ordinary policemen and women cannot.
Many of the communities I have visited that are affected by gang violence and drug fuelled crimes have all cried out for the re-establishment of specialised units. The Western Cape Cabinet identified the reestablishment of the units as a policing need and priority for the Western Cape, however it is regrettable that the national government is refusing to bring these units back and is refusing to tackle gangs and drugs head on in a dedicated, specialised way. I tell this house today that I will continue to call for these units until such time as the people of the Western Cape are safe and no longer prey to drugs and gangs.
v. Better Together. Safer Together.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, safety can only be achieved through collective effort and constant determination. The Western Cape Government is working towards a whole of society and whole of government approach to safety. On a partnership basis, we are finding ways to create safer environments and communities in which crime is less likely to happen in the first place. We believe that we have the right philosophy in place, we have direction through our strategic objective and we are now testing our projects. Community Safety is becoming more and more innovative in how we approach safety, within our limited mandate and resources. We do this because safety is so important to everything that we do.
Speaker, finally, I wish to say thank you to Premier Helen Zille for the tremendous work she does for this province. I thank her for her continued support and guidance. I also thank my Cabinet colleagues for their inputs and for the important collaborations and partnerships that we have forged on some of these projects.
I extend my gratitude to the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, Mark Wiley and the Committee members, as well as my colleagues in this house.
I wish to thank the Head of Department, Dr Lawrence, I thank the Chief Directors: Mr Morris, Mr George, Mr Africa and Mr Steyn for their strategic leadership and the important work that they do in rolling out projects successfully. I thank the staff at the Department and our Provincial Traffic Officers for their dedication and efforts to making this province safer. I also thank my staff in the Ministry for their commitment and support for me and the running of my office.
I wish to thank General Lamoer and each and every police officer in the Western Cape for their efforts in fighting crime. I equally wish to thank the municipal police and municipal traffic services. These fine men and women work tirelessly to ensure our safety and put their own lives at risk for the sake of ours. I remember those officers who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty over the last year.
Finally, I wish to thank my wife and my daughter, as well as my family for their continued love, support and understanding of the serious challenges and long hours that this position demands of me.
I thank you.