DA to lay charges over fraudulent Emfuleni stand

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Evaton:

The DA will lay criminal charges of fraud and corruption against Mr Jacob Mhlambi, owner of Siyanqoba Projects, who has allegedly been selling stands in Emfuleni under false pretences.

According to residents of Evaton West extension 7, Mr Mhlambi is allegedly selling stands for R4000 and charging buyers connection fees using the Emfuleni local municipality logo.

In March this year, Emfuleni mayor, Cllr Greta Hlongwane promised residents to investigate fraudulent stand sales, yet to date nothing has been done.

Residents further allege that Mr Mhlambi has close ties with the local ANC councillor, who is aware of the fraudulent land sales.

Fraud and corruption steal vital public funds and resources from people who rely heavily on government to provide them with a better life.

The DA strongly condemns any actions that deprive people of opportunities, and we will use every avenue available to us to bring perpetrators to book.

To this end the DA will lay the charges at the Evaton SAPS, and at the same time submit questions to cooperative governance and human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo demanding a progress report on Mayor Hlongwane’s investigation, and a proposed date of conclusion.

Crime stats: cold comfort to NC citizens as violent crimes increase

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.

Crime stats: Sexual offences by Police grow 53,1% – murder and car hijacking rise too

By Katlego Suzan Phala (MPL), DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Safety ,Security and Liaison:

The DA is deeply concerned that Limpopo is no longer one of South Africa’s safer provinces. The national government’s grip over the South African Police Service is losing the war against crime.

Crime statistics released today indicate that murder and car hijacking cases are on the rise across the province.

According to the stats, murder cases have increased by 6.8 % whilst attempted murder has increased from 748 charges to 793 charges which is a 6.0 % increase as compared to last year.

Even though civilian sexual offence cases have dropped from 4423 to 4312 (which is a 2.5% decrease) sexual offenses as a result of police action has risen from 1905 to a shocking 2917 which is a 53.1% increase.

Car hijacking has also increased from 249 to 345 (a 38.6 % increase) which is the highest as compared to other provinces. Other crime rate that have increased in the various categories includes:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is up by 41.7 %
  • Drug related crimes is also up by 21.1 %
  • Robbery with aggravating circumstances is up by 18.6 %
  • Robbery at residential premises is up by 16.4%

The SAPS are failing dismally to fight against crime in the province

We need proper police training, filling of vacancies, disciplined police leadership and specialised units, including rural safety units.

Limpopo must be a safer province were the residents don’t have to live under siege in their increasingly alarm-protected cars as well as high-walled and barricaded homes fearing for their lives.

The DA is deeply concerned that with crime increasing in the province, economic growth will be deeply affected which will further increase job losses in the province. Despite the increase, the DA believes that the statistics need to be audited in order to be trusted. Crime stats have previously been released with incorrect statistics for Limpopo. An external and independent body should audit our crime statistics.

That is why the DA’s vision for South Africa is one in which our country is safer than ever before, with a competent, well-equipped police service finally turning the tide against crime. The DA believes that specialised units must be returned to the SAPS to combat the increasing crime in the province.

The DA will write to the portfolio chairperson on safety and security to summon the Limpopo Police Commissioner, Lt.Gen. Fanie Masemola as well as MEC for Safety, Mapula Mokaba Phukwane to come and account for the increase in crime and to answer for why specialised units have not been reintroduced.

FS Crime Stats: Contact crimes remain high, car and truck jacking on the rise

By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

Statistics released today indicate that contact crimes remain high and that car and truck jacking on Free State roads are on a steady increase.

According to the SAPS, murder increased by one additional case from 942 to 943 reported cases. One murder is one too many and almost a 1000 murders annually is a real tragedy. There was a 9.9% drop in attempted murder cases from 906 to 816 reported cases.

The number of reported sexual offences saw a reduction of 490 cases (-10.7%) from 4584 to 4094, but this crime is severely under reported as sexual assault victims fear further victimisation and stigmatisation.

House burglary declined by 700 incidents (-4.3%) from 18314 to 15614 reported incidents and house robbery by 35 incidents (-4.6%) from 753 to 718 cases.

Stock theft across the province showed a 12.9% decrease in reported cases from 4051 to 3527 incidents. While these statistics appear positive, stock theft has increasingly become an under reported crime.

There are serious questions surrounding the validity of the crime statistics released today. The statistics are outdated and cannot serve as a true reflection of crime patterns in the province. Almost 7000 case dockets were archived by the SAPS in the Free State instead of being investigated.

The DA is disappointed that rural murders have not been reported on separately. Violent attacks in our rural farming communities are on a steady increase. The DA has long called for the establishment of dedicated and specialised rural safety units within the SAPS and that incidents of violent rural attacks be reported on as a stand-alone crime in the publication of the annual crime statistics.

In addition, the SAPS in the Free State are extremely under-resourced with a severe shortage of vehicles at their disposal making it extremely difficult for the SAPS to prevent and respond to violent crimes that target rural communities.

The DA would also like to acknowledge the dedication shown by committed police officers in the fight against crime and we extend our gratitude to them for the many sacrifices they make to keep our communities safe with the limited resources they have at their disposal.

The DA has already called for an independent audit of these crime statistics and have made several recommendations on how to reform the reporting and application of crime statistics in the fight against crime.

The scourge of unemployment fuels gangsterism and gang-related crimes. The DA’s economic policy will unlock economic opportunities that will create jobs, unlike the current state of our economy with limited opportunities for a few. A growing and prosperous economy will see a steady reduction in crime.

Crime affects each and every citizen. It rips our families apart and deny us the opportunity to live the happy, safe and prosperous lives we should be living in a free and fair society. A DA government will ensure that the SAPS are well-trained and resourced to keep our communities safe.

Crime stats: North West faces disturbing crime increases

By SP Motswenyane (MPL), DA North West Spokesperson: Community Safety:

The Democratic Alliance in the North West is concerned that the national government’s grip over the South African Police Service has lost the war against crime.

The latest crime statistics indicate an increase in not only murders and robberies with aggravating circumstances, but also hijackings, stock theft and the illegal possession of firearms, leaving our citizens unsafe and unprotected.

In the province that saw the devastating Marikana massacre in 2012, one cannot help feeling that the SAPS     has lost its direction away from protecting our citizens.

The increase in crime is not encouraging, as the people of North West cannot feel safe in their own homes, workplaces or on the roads.

The 2014/2015 crime stats report revealed that the crime rate has increased in the following categories:

  • Carjacking  14.9%
  • Robbery at residential premises 10.6%
  • Robbery with aggravating circumstances 10.5%
  • Stock-theft 7.8%
  • Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 7.7%
  • Theft out of or from motor vehicle 6.2%
  • Drug related crime 5.7%
  • Burglary at non- residential premises 4.5%
  • Robbery at non-residential premises 3.9%
  • Murder 3.5%
  • Common robbery 3.3%
  • Common assault 2.7%
  • Burglary at residential premises 1.9%
  • Malicious damage to property 0.8%
  • Robbery of cash in transit: 5 cases higher
  • Bank robbery: 1 case higher

The high level of contact crimes and stock theft in this predominantly rural province emphasizes the need to re-establish specialised units that will tackle specific crimes. This includes the need for specialized units to investigate drug and narcotic related crimes, murder and robbery and stock theft.

We should not accept crime as an inescapable reality in South Africa. With proper policing strategies, trained police officers, specialised units and proper leadership, the SAPS can succeed.

Our SAPS remains politically and operationally rudderless. Countless South African lives are at stake.

The national government is solely responsible for proper policing, and it is horrendously failing our people, leaving us unprotected and destroying the image of our country.

Crime Stats 2015 – National SAPS management is failing the people of the Western Cape

By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

The release of the national annual crime statistics today by the National Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, and National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, shows that the South African National Police Service (SAPS) is fighting a losing battle against violence and crime in South Africa and particularly in the Western Cape.

General Phiyega’s admission that the Western Cape is one of the lowest performing provinces in terms of policing is extremely worrying and warrants both herself and Minister Nhleko to answer on the SAPS’ operational effectiveness.

I fully support the efforts of Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, and the dedicated men and women in blue who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect all who reside in the Western Cape.

Their dedicated efforts are, however, continuously undermined by National SAPS management who seems unwilling to adequately resource the police in the Western Cape, and effectively partner with communities and the Western Cape Government.

The Western Cape’s crime statistics show that the province is experiencing excessive increases when compared to the national year-on-year percentage changes. For 2014/15, the Western Cape recorded a:

  • 7% increase in murder against a national increase of 4.6%;
  • 4% increase in attempted murder versus a national increase of 3.2%;
  • 6% increase in robbery with aggravating circumstances, 8.5% national increase;
  • 5% increase in arson against a national decrease of 6.1%;
  • 7% increase in malicious injury to property, 2.3% increase nationally;
  • 2% increase in reported illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against a 1.6% decrease nationally;
  • 8% increase in drug related crime against 2.4% increase nationally;
  • 60% increase in carjacking, 2% national increase;
  • 55% increase in truck hijacking, 29% national increase; and
  • 9% increase in robbery at residential premises against a national increase of 5.2%.

Every increase in a crime statistic is another person in the Western Cape whose life, livelihood and general safety has become under threat.

The crime realities the province is facing have been well documented through the annual Provincial Policing Needs and Priorities (PNPs) determination process led by the Department of Community Safety. The constitution requires the Western Cape Government to inform the National Police Minister on the results of the PNPs to determine national policing policy. The latest PNP report indicated that the people of the Western Cape needs more police vehicles, more police officers, additional police infrastructure, the re-establishment of the specialised units and improved police accessibility.

Yet we see no real, implementable action plan from the National SAPS management on how to effectively combat these increases.

The National SAPS management has also chosen to not disclose the station level crime statistics which leaves our communities ill prepared to address crime realities in their own areas.

National SAPS management’s attempts to tell a good story of improving crime conditions over the last five years, or even ten years, are no appeasement for every person who has fallen victim to crime in the Western Cape in the last year.

Our province has serious problems that have been left unattended by the National SAPS management for far too long. For the 2014/15 financial year, the Western Cape recorded the:

  • Highest percentage contribution of drug-related crime to the country (34%) and year-on-year increases since 2005/06.
  • Highest counts of murder for the last 11 years (3 186).
  • Highest percentage increase for attempted murder (11.4%) and year-on-year increases since 2009/10.
  • Highest percentage increase in truck hijacking (55%) and year-on-year increases since 2009/10.
  • Highest percentage increase for common assault (5.3%) and year-on-year increases since 2010/11.
  • Highest percentage increase in robbery with aggravating circumstances (18.6%) and year-on-year increases since 2010/11.
  • Highest percentage increase in malicious injury to property (10.7%) and year-on-year increases since 2010/11.
  • Highest percentage increase in carjacking (60%) and year-on-year increases since 2010/11.
  • 2nd highest percentage increase in murder (9.7%) and year-on-year increases since 2011/12.
  • 2nd highest increases in assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (5.6%) and year-on-year increases since 2012/13.
  • 2nd highest percentage increase in robbery at residential premises (14.9%) and year-on-year increases since 2005/06.

 

This is the safety reality of many people in the Western Cape on a daily basis. This is the reality within which the Department of Community Safety is actively trying to help create safer environments for people to live, work and move about in.
We have adopted a whole-of-society approach to increasing safety in the province.  I welcome the National SAPS management’s calls for all to take a united stand against crime but urge them to lead the way. It remains unacceptable that the voices of the people of Khayelitsha are still undermined more than a year after the conclusion of the O’Regan Commission of Inquiry – due to National SAPS Management’s slow response.

The Western Cape Government partners with communities and organisations around targeted interventions to improve safety yet the National SAPS management, as recently as the last two weeks, conducted numerous visits to the Western Cape without including the local or provincial government safety counterparts.

The Department of Community Safety will continue to partner with the religious fraternities through the Youth Safety and Religious Partnership (YSRP) programme and with the educational institutions such as our Chrysalis Academy and our partnership with the FET colleges, such as Northlink. We will continue to partner with the non-governmental organisations working in our communities and our safety partners, such as the Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing Forums. We will continue to capacitate these organisations to help build the necessary united front which is needed to combat crime.

I will continue to call for the re-instatement of the specialised units such as the gang and drug units to combat the scourge of drugs and gangs in our communities. I still believe the SAPS reservist has to be brought back to assist SAPS in their tasks and help increase visible policing efforts.

The crime reality in the province cannot be left to continue unabated. It is a reality in which the National SAPS needs to ensure adequate policing resources. This is the only way to reassure the people of the Western Cape that their safety is a priority. Most importantly, SAPS need to partner more effectively with communities and the provincial government if we are to see a turnaround in the current situation.

Crime Stats: Under-Resourcing Affecting Western Cape

By Mireille Wenger MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety:

Today’s release of the annual crime statistics shows increases in violent crime indicators in the Western Cape. The critical under-resourcing of the Western Cape police is taking its toll and the National Police Commissioner continues to ignore the Western Cape.

Under-Resourcing

  • The Western Cape is the most under-resourced province with 85% of our stations being under-staffed;
  • The Western Cape SAPS has 2392 vacancies;
  • The Western Cape has 588 detectives, or 14% less detectives than we should have.
  • Visible policing around the province has 2249 less officers patrolling our communities than we ought to have.
  • Should all the granted posts be filled, it would mean approximately 20 additional officers on the ground for each station in this province, of which 4 would be detectives.
  • While the national police to population ratio is 1:358, stations in the Western Cape with the highest crime rates, have disproportionately low numbers of officers serving these stations. Nyanga, which records exceptionally high numbers of murders had one officer for every 1418 citizens. Khayelitsha and Harare, which also have high numbers of murders had police to population ratios of 1:1675 and 1:1702 respectively;
  • The number of police reservists declined from 22 159 in 2008 to a paltry 2700 in 2012 in our province alone. The reduction in reservists in just 1 year, equated to 82 000 less police hours;
  • The 10111 call centre has less staff that it did 6 years ago and the call scanner which tracks the number of abandoned calls has been broken since 2013.

Under-resourcing appears to have a negative impact on crime and on the safety of citizens. The Free State is the province with the highest surplus of officers, with almost 1000 additional members. It is no wonder then that this province managed to show a decrease in 25 out of 32 crime indicators. The Western Cape by contrast has the largest shortage of officers with over 2000 vacancies.

Unresponsive Commissioner

Because SAPS is a national government function, and provinces and provincial parliaments have no operational control over policing, but an important oversight role, the Western Cape Parliament has taken this matter up repeatedly with the National Commissioner.  The National Commissioner however has been entirely unresponsive to our petitions for her to address the critical shortages.

In November last year, I wrote to the National Commissioner to raise concern and requested a report on what steps are being taken to address the severely under-resourced police service in the Western Cape and to fill the high number of vacancies.  The Standing Committee on Community Safety requested the Commissioner to present to the Provincial Parliament on this concerning matter. To date, no report and no response has been received to present to the Provincial Parliament, despite several follow-up letters.

The National Commissioner has a duty to the citizens and to the officers of the Western Cape. A properly resourced police service is essential in not only combatting and preventing crime, but also in protecting officers.

We all want to the same thing, to live in a society which is peaceful and where the fear of crime is low.  In order to achieve this, police management must address under-resourcing in the Western Cape as a priority.

Centurion taxi violence a result of inadequate facilities

By Justus de Goede, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transportation:

An enquiry into the causes of yesterday’s violent confrontations at the Centurion taxi rank will unfortunately reveal the same continuous problems in this vital sector of Gauteng’s public transport system.

A recent investigation into the province’s taxi industry revealed that a toxic mix of criminal activity, disregard for laws and regulations, and deep-rooted official corruption underlie the industry.

The Centurion violence was apparently sparked by a dispute between Centurion and Tembisa operators as the latter allegedly ignored their route authorisation by dropping commuters in Centurion and taking them back to Tembisa.

Taxi operators regularly either deliberately muscle in on routes for which they have no permission or obtain illegal duplicate route permits from officials.

Lack of official regulation of the taxi industry convinces rogue operators that there will be no consequences for illegal behaviour.

In the face of rampant criminality, the police point to a lack of crime intelligence and intimidation of commuters, which guarantee that hit squads and enforcers are never fingered, much less charged, in this situation.

Centurion is likely to remain a taxi violence hotspot, as the area where the rank is located is under development, and operators fear they will either be forced to move to a much less convenient area for commuters or be given an area too small to accommodate their vehicles.

Some years ago the DA proposed that each new large development be obliged by law to provide adequate taxi facilities, precisely to reduce turf wars, but the Tshwane Metro has thus far taken no notice.

Perhaps reason could still prevail and Centurion might become a test case for a more easily monitored and controlled taxi operation.

Gauteng’s daily struggle against crime

By Kate Lorimer MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety:

The crime statistics for the period March 2014 to March 2015 were released today by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

It is important to note that these statistics are therefore between 6 and 18 months out of date.

Gauteng does not emerge as a province that is winning the fight against crime. Rather, the statistics show that residents of Gauteng are under an increasing daily threat from criminals.

In all but five of the 27 categories of crime statistics reported, Gauteng leads all of South Africa with the highest number of crimes reported.

The exceptions are murder where Gauteng has the second highest number, the illegal possession of firearms (second highest), drug related crimes (second highest), sexual offences as a result of police action (third highest) and stock theft.

On average, 1746 crimes are committed in Gauteng per day.

The province’s murder rate has jumped by 10,4% to a total of 3671 incidents. This means that in Gauteng, an average of 10 people are murdered per day, 365 days per year.

On average, attempted murder occurs 11 times a day, 365 days per year.

Approximately 144 people a day are grievously assaulted, 365 days a year.

In total, there are on average 458 people in Gauteng, every day, who are directly affected by crimes against their person.

The province’s people are not safe either at home or at work as they are endangered by an increased number of robberies at both.

Together there are around 40 incidents per day, every day of the year. (Robberies indicate incidents where victims are personally involved in the crime, burglaries occur when there is no victim directly involved.)

The lives of the province’s residents are affected by 427 property related crimes every day – which include burglary at residential and non-residential premises – resulting in 227 incidents a day.

Residential burglary has reduced by nearly 3% but this cannot be considered a success due to the high total of 66 172 incidents reported.

The level of dissatisfaction of Gauteng residents is extremely high as is evidenced by the 604 public disorder incidents.

Drug related incidents which are referred to as “crimes detected as a result of police action” have dropped to 70 264 incidents a year or 192 incidents a day.  This however may purely be due to a reduction in police activity and not to an actual reduction in this type of crime.

It is important to note that a reduction in statistics does not necessarily reflect a reduction in that category of crime, but may point to a reduction in reporting.

This is backed up by the latest National Victims of Crime Survey (NCVS) released in December 2014, which refers to lower numbers of people reporting sexual offences and assault.

Gauteng is a province at war.

Violent crime is on the increase and the SAPS needs to put defined strategies in place to deal with the problem. We need specialised units to deal with drugs, gangs and gangsterism, hijacking syndicates, and illegal mining.

The time for talk is over and the time for decisive action is here.

Without effective leadership in the SAPS, the criminals will win.

EC crime stats don’t add up

By Bobby Stevenson (MPL), Shadow MEC for Safety and Security:

The DA Eastern Cape believes that there needs to be an independent audit of crime statistics.  We have done a comparison between the 2013/14 SAPS crime statistics, published on 19 September last year compared with the figures that are published for the same year today.

We have been able to this, because we kept hard copies of last year’s published figures. 

We have found in many instances that there are differences in figures which have been adjusted downwards.  This raises a huge question mark around the credibility of these statistics.

For example:

  • Murder for 2013/14:  3 453 as published on 19 September 2014 compared to 3 441 as published today (12 less).
  • Total sexual offences for 2013/14:  9 897 as published on 19 September 2014, compared to 9 616 as published today (281 less).
  • Robbery with aggravating circumstances for 2013/14:  13 485 published on 19 September 2014, compared to 13 443 as published today (42 less).
  • Burglary at residential premises for 2013/14:  24 750 as published on 19 September 2014, compared to 24 643 as published today (107 less).

The provincial police commissioner needs to brief the legislature so we can understand the differences in the statistics. Why have these statistics been manipulated to give the impression of a gentle downward trend in crime?

The DA believes our communities can be safe from fear if our police service was better resourced and there was strong leadership at all levels.  Our communities are crying out for a safer environment where the can live in freedom without having to barricade themselves in at night