COMMUNITY SAFETY BILL PASSED BY PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT

Mark Wiley, MPP

DA Western Cape spokesperson for Community Safety

The Western Cape Provincial Parliament has approved the Community Safety Bill, it will now be sent for to the Premier for assent. The recent events and controversies surrounding the South African Police Service (SAPS) have shown how dismally National Government has failed. This is not just a failure of management but also a failure in oversight. The failures of police service delivery in certain areas in the province and the manipulating of crime statistics have made it necessary for the Western Cape Provincial Government to increase and strengthen its oversight role over SAPS and community safety structures in the province, within the boundaries set by the Constitution.

This piece of legislation aims to strengthen cooperative governance. It addresses and strengthens the role of Community Police Forums (CPF’s), neighborhood watches and Community Safety structures that act as intermediaries between the police and community. Although the Police Act makes provisions for CPF’s, it has remains under-legislated. The Community Safety Bill speaks to this issue, focusing on clear definitions, functions, improved oversight over the police and assisting in the maintenance of more accurate statistics. With improved oversight and information, the Western Cape government will be able to apply funds and shape crime prevention programmes more effectively.

The addition of an Ombudsman, dedicated to investigate service delivery failures of the police, will also promote the investigation of complaints without political interference. Despite the objections of the National Minister of police regarding the Province’s implementation of this bill, the Democratic Alliance is convinced it falls within the mandated powers provided by the Constitution.

This will now lay the groundwork for assisting all spheres of government to identify and address problems with policing in the Western Cape more effectively and increase the safety and protection of all citizens in the Province.

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