By Andrew Louw MPL, DA Provincial Leader:
The DA is concerned that no meaningful successes have been achieved in the fight against crime in this province. The 2014/2015 crime statistics offer little comfort to the people of the Northern Cape.
Crime levels still remain unacceptably high, and intangible decreases in some categories mean little.
National Government’s grip on the SAPS has lost the war on crime.
It is also worrying that a large number of violent crimes such as assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances have significantly increased in the Northern Cape.
A massive increase in drug related crimes is also of particular concern, especially when considering that the province is still only at the start of the process of establishing a drug rehabilitation centre in the Northern Cape.
An increase in burglary at residential premises is also a great worry to the DA but it is not surprising.
It is no secret that the majority of our people no longer feel safe. On a day to day basis, we hear horror stories of how local residents have been attacked and tied up in their own houses, of how ruthless criminals have gained entry into places of refuge by stripping away burglar bars, climbing through roofs or breaking through locks. People who can afford to, are turning their homes into fortresses whilst those who can’t afford security measures, shut their doors and windows at night and pray to see another day.
Again this year there is no reporting of rural attacks and rural murders that have been completely neglected and ignored by the national government. Due to the way crime is categorized there is also no reporting on domestic abuse. This is in spite of the fact that our province is being ravaged by a gender-based violence (GBV) scourge.
The DA is of the view that the latest statistics fail to serve a functional purpose, and in fact their very authenticity is called into question. The crime stats are not independent, and they are not audited. The DA has called for audited crime stats to be released and we believe that only independently audited stats should be fully trusted.
The crime stats are outdated. The DA wants to see real-time crime statistics made available to the public at station level. This will not only give the public information on the nature and extent of crime in their area, but also allow the SAPS to tailor local responses relevant to present-day realities.
The DA also has grave concerns about the failure by the police to properly categorize crimes such as domestic violence and in turn provide a comprehensive and accurate report.
Given the above, we can draw only one conclusion – national government and the SAPS are failing in the fight against crime.
But we do not need to accept crime as an inescapable reality in South Africa.
We need properly trained police officers, we need vacancies to be filled, and we need specialised units to be reintroduced that tackle drug crime, gang crime and rural safety. Above all, we need effective leadership of our SAPS on a national level.
Only through these interventions will we see a South Africa that is safe.
The DA’s vision is one which employment opportunities are easily accessible and our people don’t have to resort to crime. A society where our SAPS is well-trained, resourced and has the trust of the people they took an oath to serve and protect. This is a society that South Africans so desperately need and deserve. This society as envisioned by the DA is the only one that South Africans can value.