Michele Clarke MPL
DA Spokesperson on Community Safety
It has become very clear over the past few weeks that police services in Gauteng are losing the war against crime in the province.
Just this weekend, two metro police officers were shot in the line of duty while numerous incidents of hijacking, drug-related crime and crime against women and children continued unabated.
Concerns from residents regarding this scourge were highlighted through recent correspondence from a concerned Claremont community member who wrote to the DA regarding the failure of government to act strongly against Luke Tibbett’s death, as well as other similar incidents involving children in the province.
The DA received a response to this from the Gauteng Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner who indicated that the cases were handed to a specialised investigating team and that more resources were deployed to the affected areas. Furthermore, it was indicated that the SAPS Operation Drug Watch is yielding results (This letter can be viewed here).
The responses given by the commissioner that the war against drugs and crime is being won is misleading. Just two weeks ago the Sophiatown Police Station commander admitted to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Safety and Security Committee during an oversight visit that they are losing the war on drugs in the area.
Furthermore complaints from affected community members shows evidence that SAPS only react to incidents once they occur and do not take a proactive approach to responding to residents’ concerns.
In light of this response from the Police Commissioner and escalating crime in Gauteng, I will be submitting questions to the MEC of Safety and Security to establish:
- What current crime prevention programmes are in place in Gauteng and when were these implemented
- How many SAPS Visible Police (VISPOL) operations are currently active in Gauteng
- The number of arrests made in Gauteng over the past three years
- The number of successful convictions in Gauteng over the past three years
The only way reduce crime is to ensure permanent police presence, proactive policing and the reintroduction of Specialised Drug Units. The MEC must reassure residents of Gauteng that the current wave of crime affecting the province will be stopped swiftly in its tracks.