By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development / DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety:
THE DA calls for a combined meeting of KZN’s Social Development and Community Safety and Liaison departments, their MEC’s and portfolio committees following the release of Pietermaritzburg CBD crime stats which indicate an ‘epidemic of violence’.
According to a media report, high numbers of murders, assaults and sexual attacks are taking place across the city. Stats from the Loop Street police station, which keeps guard over the CBD, show that there were 60 cases of vicious assault during August – also Women’s Month – with the last 31 days cited as being the most violent to date this year.
Most disturbing is the fact that so many victims were females and that in 43 of the 60 cases reported, they knew or could identify their attackers.
This last statistic speaks volumes about the society we live in. It also highlights the shocking social conditions so many are exposed to. At the heart of the problem lies society’s degradation to what must be an all-time low.
It is nationally and internationally well researched that inter-personal violent crime levels are high in areas where the poor and vulnerable lack social opportunities.
Central to empowering South Africans is access to opportunity. This requires a system of social security to protect them from extreme poverty and a functional criminal system to keep people safe.
The people of KZN are being let down on both these counts.
A DA-led South Africa would provide a police service that is properly equipped, well trained and able to respond rapidly and effectively to any threat to the personal safety of South African citizens.
It would provide for a justice system with the necessary independence and resources to ensure that those prosecuted receive a fair and speedy trial and, if found guilty, are appropriately punished.
It would allow for a correctional service system that allows people convicted of crimes to be securely detained and offer effective rehabilitation to ensure that the level of criminality in our society is reduced over time.
Finally, it would also provide a support system that is attuned to the needs of victims of crime.
The DA expects MEC’s Thusi and Mchunu to treat this matter with the utmost urgency,
Fighting high crime levels in vulnerable and poor communities can only be successful if there is a co-ordinated approach which sees the Department of Social Development providing proper social opportunities and the Department of Community Safety providing effective crime prevention programmes.