KZN Community Safety Debate

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature / DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety

It is the DA’s view that issues relating to Community Safety and Security require a non-political approach.  It is also our view that reports around issues of safety and policing in KwaZulu-Natal need to feature prominently and consistently on the portfolio committee’s agenda.

It is a very unfortunate that this debate comes at a time when our country is in the dark around the credibility and truthfulness of the crime stats that were released in September this year.  The Institute for Security Studies has accused the police of miscalculating crime levels and downplaying the rate of violent crime in many parts of this country.  Such accusation brings about a level of uncertainty and distrust of the ANC-led government.

Mr Speaker, it is possible that I may not have read your report properly however I am concerned that there appears to be no correlation between the number of deaths against the number of arrests.

Indeed I will not miss the opportunity to express my extreme disappointment about the manner in which you participated or engaged on the debate around farm killings.

The DA is extremely concerned about the fact that you appear to be stuck in denying opposition parties to exercise oversight on you and your department.  This is displayed in the fact that out of 11 questions put to you by the DA this year on Community Safety, you have only answered three.

In your report I have failed to see any mention of the 2007 Commission of Enquiry into alleged police inefficiency and ineffectiveness in KZN.  Why is the content of this particular report being kept under wraps?

The content of this report is shocking to say the least.  This report, amongst a range of other items, reveals that;

–        KZN police officers were labelled as ‘clueless’ with the vast majority of communities having a negative perception of the SAPS

–        Police top brass were accused of blocking access to information and there were allegations of intimidation of members of the public at open meetings held in the province

The following were found by the Commission to be the main areas of concern within the KZN SAPS;

–        Failure to investigate cases properly or at all

–        Inadequate feedback by SAPS members for complainants and witnesses

–        Police members being involved in criminal activity

–        Unprofessional conduct by SAPS members

I would have expected that given an opportunity you would address such damning allegations – why have you not done so in this report?

It also concerns me to see that you have opted to remain silent on issues relating to the abuse/use or blue lights on our roads.

You will recall that over the last four years I have consistently made the point that my party remains resolute in our endeavour to present workable suggestions or interventions to render KZN a free and safe province.  It is against this backdrop that the DA submitted to this legislature for consideration a Bill titled the Community Safety Bill.  Why has this Bill not been referred to the portfolio committee and this House?

This Bill is precisely what our province needs.  The Community Safety Bill was signed into law in the DA-led Western Cape in April 2013.   There is no good reason why it should not be implemented in KwaZulu-Natal.

This Bill needs to be tabled without delay.