Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga has again been rocked by a surge in serious crime – an issue which continues to concern the DA and one that should be immediately addressed by provincial police commissioner Lt Gen Thulani Ntobela and the Mpumalanga government.
Reports of murder, attempted murders and armed robberies increased significantly over the past few weeks, in towns across the province as well as in the capital city, Nelspruit. This is very concerning, especially given that some affected towns, such as Hazyview, are popular tourist destinations and previous crimes against tourists there had severe repercussions.
In Hazyview there has been a surge in armed robberies, assault and house burglaries while Malalane has experienced a rise in murders, house breakings and armed robberies. Middelburg has also not been spared with a vast number of vehicle-related and drug related crimes reported. The capital, Nelspruit, has also been affected by armed robberies, murders and theft of vehicles.
Despite reports that police are working full-out to put a lid on criminal activities, more needs to be done. Although the DA welcomes all efforts made by the SAPS, we also call on provincial police commissioner, Lt Gen Thulani Ntobela, to intensify efforts by implementing additional resources. We also urge premier David Mabuza to act on his word and implement Rural Safety Units (RSU).
A huge vacuum was left after the phasing out of the Commando system and in the DA’s opinion the only effective way to curb crime now is through the establishment of rural safety units. According to our Rural Safety Strategy, RSU’s will work because they will be made up of specialised personnel (such as former Commando members) and will work closely with the police and rural community safety organisations. Such units have been established in Limpopo and Gauteng and have already made a positive contribution in the fight against crime.
Although last year premier Mabuza expressed his support for increased rural security and the establishment of RSU’s, he has yet to put his words into action.
Reducing crime and increasing public safety and security has been earmarked as a government priority, yet people continue to suffer at the hands of villians. Unfortunately until government acts against this social ill, the people of Mpumalanga will either continue to fall prey to criminals, or live in fear of becoming the next crime statistic.