DA set to table Community Safety Bill in KZN

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

DA Leader in KwaZulu-Natal / DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison

The Democratic Alliance will officially table a Community Safety Bill in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature tomorrow.

A DA initiative, the KZN Community Safety Bill aims to make police more accountable to the safety needs of communities through a partnership between civil organizations and the provincial government.

If the Legislature passes this Bill into law, the DA believes it will make KZN communities safer through –

• The establishment of a provincial police ombudsman with the ability to investigate complaints of police inefficiency or distrust in communities; direct any person to provide them with evidence; make recommendations to the Safety MEC; as well as the ability to refer complaints to other relevant bodies

• The shifting of power to determine the policing needs of each local area from the National Commissioner to local communities

• Increasing the amount of support and resources that Community Safety organizations can receive from the provincial Safety Department

• Empowering the Safety MEC to demand mandatory reports from the Provincial Police Commissioner on deaths caused by police activity, all criminal cases being investigated and convictions achieved; firearms lost; or any other matter relating to the efficiency of the police’s relationship with communities

• Giving the provincial cabinet the ability to summon the Provincial Police Commissioner to appear before them and hold that person accountable for non-performance

In tabling the Bill, we will also inform KZN Legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni that some rules of the provincial legislature are unconstitutional. The rules currently allow an ANC-stacked committee to prevent the opposition from tabling new laws.

The recent Constitutional Court ruling on Private Members Bills allows the opposition to propose new laws directly to Parliament and all legislatures for voting and consideration.

National Parliament has put interim measures in place to comply with this ruling. Speaker Nkonyeni is constitutionally obliged to make the same provisions for us to table this Bill in KwaZulu-Natal.

The DA will soon begin a process of lobbying members of the legislature and the public to support the KZN Community Safety for the sake of better policing and safer neighbourhoods in our province.

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