Adv. Pule Thole, MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson of Transport, Safety & Liaison
Aside from a blatant lack of acknowledgment, by key role players, of the dire crime situation in the province, the DA is of the view that a critical shortage of capacity and resources also lies at the heart of the escalating crime problem in the Northern Cape. This was confirmed during oversight visits of police stations in the Kuruman area last week.
In my interactions at the Mothibistad Police Station, I learnt that each detective has between 60 and 80 files that they have to investigate. The first question that came to mind was how can one person possibly handle 60 to 80 files? There is no way that a detective with such a heavy caseload is able to do justice to each case in terms of investigating and collating information and preparing that file for court. That is why we have such a low conviction rate. At the same time, the communities don’t have confidence in the police because cases of murder, assault GBH and rape are sometimes thrown out of court due to poor investigations by the police or detectives, not because of their own doing but due to a situation beyond their control. This is a situation marked by a lack of capacity and resources.
The capacity problem was again highlighted at the Wrenchville Police Station, where it came to light that only four police officers are on duty per shift. This begs the question as to who then is left to do patrol duty in the Wrenchville precinct? Meanwhile, the resource problem came to light in Kuruman, where a lack of office accommodation is negatively affecting training of police officers.
I believe that Northern Cape Police Management is aware of the taxing situations in most of the stations across the province and for them not to act decisively in response to these challenges is of great concern to the DA.
The DA firmly believes that Police Management must be held accountable for the situations prevailing at most police stations. Most of the problems encountered at the various police stations and training units could be solved in a short period of time if given the necessary attention by police management.
As a first step towards combating the gloomy crime situation in the province, as highlighted by the recently released 2013/2014 crime stats, we suggest that the Northern Cape Police Management identifies all the police stations where there are capacity and resource problems and then embarks on a strategic plan to address the shortcomings at each and every station. After all, it is up to police management to create an enabling environment for the police to be able to execute their duties in an effective and efficient manner.