By Mark Wiley, MPP, Chief Whip of the WCPP:
The National government is not doing its job in protecting the people of the Western Cape. SAPS is an essential service, not a discretionary one.
Full operational capacity at station level is the key to basic crime prevention. The Western Cape is currently grossly neglected at station level and massively under staffed, according to national minimum service level standards, and denies SAPS in the Western Cape an adequate first responder capacity.
One third of stations cannot give regular service during blackouts as they do not have generators. Of the police stations that do have generators, many of them do not have their telephones connected to generators, which means that they are isolated from the public.
The Western Cape shortages are simply disgraceful, one must wonder whether it is by design?
- Recruitment totals guarantee less and less manpower.
- Reservist strategies are poorly thought out and lack in implementation.
- Current efforts to disguise this debacle enlarges clusters and reduce sectors.
This managerial neglect is nothing short of scandalous. The Western Cape needs rapid intervention from the National Police Commissioner. The use of ad hoc operations and intervention units, including SANDF, should be only as a complimentary force multiplier – it cannot replace a main policing function. SAPS are allowing these sporadic high profile interdict operations to become cynical exercises in political influence peddling.
The question that should be asked of Operation Fiela – which apparently has multiple missions – is which takes precedence? Foreign nationals, gangsters – or counterfeit goods? Is this a classical example of mission creep?
These types of operations are not sustainable and do not address the systemic problems that daily crime prevention policing, and functioning police stations, are designed to achieve – they only suppress criminal activity temporarily.
Is there a reason that the Western Cape gets treated differently regarding creation of specialised units, recruitment strategy and the deployment of the SANDF?