For Mpumalanga to succeed our communities must be safe

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA spokesperson on Community Safety, Security and Liaison:

The following speech was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by the DA spokesperson on Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Jane Sithole MPL, during the tabling and debate on Policy Budget of the department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison: Vote 9

Hon. Speaker, pretending that everything is all hunky dory is like pretending death is impossible. Singing praises even where things are wrong is like praising a fish for swimming.

Hon. Speaker, I must say, I feel very safe today, when I look around me as I see so many law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect ours.

Hon. Speaker, it is our duty to promote and protect the fundamental freedom of all citizens. Every person should feel free to exercise their freedom of choice and I stand tall and proud in my choices, especially my choice of a political party.

Hon. Speaker, violent crime tears apart the essential fibre of communities. This is painfully evident in the recent murder of Constable Joseph Baloyi. Incidents such as this are not only a terrible loss for the families but for the community at large.  This underscores the need for focused attention on crime prevention. It is for this reason Hon. Speaker that crime prevention is a critical piece of keeping our communities safe.

Hon. Speaker, the Civilian Oversight programme has received a total budget allocation of over a million for the 2015/16 financial year. The DA remains concerned that some police stations do not have Victim Friendly Facilities (VFF). Citizens need to be assured that law enforcement stands ready to respond at all times. It is also important to ensure that victims of crime feel safe to report crimes.

Hon, Speaker, transport regulations programme have been allocated over R434 million. This programme needs to ensure that it prioritize the lives of our people on the roads and it must ensure that road carnage and high number of road deaths are reduced through mandatory interventions. Our traffic officers are indeed doing a thankless job, especially during Easter holidays, long weekends, Christmas and other holidays. We owe it to them, and for that we would just like to say thank you.

Hon. Speaker the Democratic Alliance would like to commend the police men and women who on a daily basis go out there and sometimes even arresting their own. Criminality within SAPS needs to be tackled head on, we cannot sit and watch a few rotten potatoes ruin the reputation of our police men and women.

For effective management and oversight of this department, the following must be considered:

  1. Drug related crimes are escalating and families are destroyed by drugs such as nyaope in our Province. We need more police with investigative training that will ensure that this drug is taken off our streets. Our call for specialised narcotics unit to combat this scourge of drugs on our communities remains.
  2. If you want to make Mpumalanga communities safer, the establishment of fully functional municipal police service is essential, in order to assist the SAPS.  Research has proved over and over that criminal activity is less in Municipalities that have a functional municipal police service where Municipal by-laws are enforced.
  3. Training and capacitating our police officers is essential, with the large increase in service delivery protests, our men and women in uniform need urgent training on crowd management, we have seen in recent months how easily crowds get out of control.

The fight against crime is everyone’s responsibility. The Democratic Alliance would like take this opportunity to once again wish Lieutenant General Mark Magadlela and his team all of the best.

I also wish to pay tribute to the many officers in our province, who risk their lives every day, to ensure the safety of ours.

I thank you.