By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:
Less than six months since National Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, publicly announced that he is considering bringing back the Specialised Units, such as the Gang and Drug units, within the South African Police Service (SAPS), a new parliamentary response indicates that we are even further away from reinstating these units.
In a written response to a question put to Minister Nhleko in National Parliament, he admits that “There is no intention in the Annual Performance Plan 2015/16 to reintroduce any additional specialised units” and that no statement will be made on the matter at this point in time.
This is contrary to the promises made in May 2015 during his budget speech when Minister Nhleko said he has “heard the outcry of communities ravaged by drugs” and stated that: “In the coming financial year, we will also be placing a stronger emphasis on the need to review specialised units that are dedicated to fighting specific forms of crime and specialised investigations.”
This was preceded by another commitment Minister Nhleko made in March 2015 when he said in a press statement: “it is time for us to consider bringing back specialized units like the drug unit and others to respond to the sophisticated nature of crime that we now have to deal with.”
I have today officially requested the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, to table the matter of reintroducing the specialised units at the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC).
In March 2015 the discussion of reintroducing the specialised units enjoyed the support of the National Commissioner and provincial heads of department when Minister Nhleko first announced his consideration. What appears to be a backtrack on the commitment is a devastating disservice to the people of the Western Cape.
While Minister Nhleko seems to be delaying commitment, people are dying in the communities in the Western Cape with gangsterism and drugs running rampant without intervention. The politics and delays need to be put to an end.
We are almost halfway through this financial year and Minister Nhleko is either misleading parliament in his response or misleading the people of South Africa and especially the Western Cape who remains confronted with the scourge of gangsterism and drugs on a daily basis.