Community Safety partners with religious fraternity for safer school holidays

By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

The following speech was delivered by Minister Dan Plato at the launch of the Youth Safety and Religious Partnership programme for the 2015 summer holidays.

It is my honour to welcome all of our religious leaders here today as esteemed guests as we launch the Summer 2015 Youth Safety and Religious Partnership (YSRP) programme.

The start of the School Holidays on Wednesday has had the Department of Community Safety busy making its lists, checking them twice and finishing up on preparations to provide safer opportunities for our youth.

It is important that we, the whole of society, remain vigilant to ensure our youth remain safe during the school holiday period.

Our combined efforts as Government, civil society organisations, parents and communities at large can help ensure that no children are put at risk during the summer holiday period.

I thank you, our religious leaders here today for taking up this challenge with us. The religious fraternity in the Western Cape and each and every religious leader present here today are the faces behind the success of the YSRP programme. I want to thank you for your unselfish service to your community in helping to create a safe space where our youth can learn, grow, play and be entertained during the holidays.

When the YSRP programme was first conceptualised, it was our vision that through the help of the various churches in our province, we will be able to reach even deeper into the hearts of communities and assist even better in helping to create safer environments. I thank each and every one of you for helping us to make this a reality.

The Youth Safety and Religious Partnership programme is already in its 4th year of implementation. During the 2012 pilot project, we partnered with 44 institutions in selected communities which ended up reaching more than 11 000 youth.

Since 2012, this programme has evolved into one of the flagships of the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) aimed specifically at increasing safety through programmes targeted at anti-social behaviour and youth initiatives in partnership with the religious fraternity of the province.

As the demand has grown from the religious fraternity to be included in the partnership towards safer areas, the Department has strived to find the money to effectively and efficiently support our churches to run quality holiday programmes that are of value to our youth. In 2012 we set aside R900 000 to support the 44 organisations.

Three years later, for 2015, I am happy to confirm that our financial commitment now exceeds R7.3 million for the year, with the Department partnering with 113 organisations across the entire province to reach almost 14 000 young people during the upcoming December/January school holidays and brings the total of youth reached for the year to 24 000.

Just as parents have the responsibility to provide for the immediate safety and protection of the children, government has a responsibility to provide for additional opportunities to assist parents in keeping their children safe, entertained and educationally stimulated over this period.

Young people are vulnerable to making unhealthy and risky lifestyle choices when they have limited access to recreational opportunities. This is particularly the case in high crime, drug and gang activity areas and even more specifically so during school holiday periods.

This December Summer Holidays, the Department will, through our partners in the religious fraternity, have a definite safety presence in more than 50 areas in the province.  Some of these areas, such as Khayelitsha, have up to 18 organisations providing safe, educational, developmental and entertaining alternatives for our youth during the school holiday period.

Our expanded commitment to partner with the religious fraternity provides almost 20 rural communities and more than 30 communities in the City of Cape Town Metro with opportunities for the youth.

Priority areas where we partner with multiple organisations in order to reach even more youth, include Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Bonteheuwel, Elsies River, Wesbank, Kraaifontein, Hanover park, Delft, Atlantis, Gugulethu, Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Bishop Lavis, Nyanga and Worcester to name but a few.

The YSRP not only involves youth in positive and constructive activities conducted by the Religious Fraternity, but also enhances the level of active citizenship within high risk communities.

The programmes on offer focus on awareness and prevention of drug-abuse, gangsterism, gender-based violence, child trafficking, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and provide our youth with life skills development and practical safety tips. Activities vary from sporting activities, song, dance, drama and culture, to movie screenings, motivational talks and youth dialogues. Workshops, first aid classes, basic counselling training and exhibitions are also on offer.

The YSRP safety promotion activities will commence on Friday, 11 December 2015 and run until Saturday, 9 January 2016.

I urge the parents in our communities to use the opportunity available to them to ensure their children are exposed to recreational and educational opportunities instead of being exposed to unhealthy and risky lifestyle choices.

Government can never compensate for the role that responsible, committed parents must play in the lives of their children. I believe, however, we have to all partner Better Together to help ensure the safety of our children. The Youth Safety and Religious Partnership programme is an opportunity to help ensure everyone, the youth and parents across the province, have a peaceful, merry festive season.

More information on the YSRP programme can be found on the Department’s website, www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/community-safety , or by contacting Amelia Pieterse by dialling 021 483 3971; or via email Amelia.Pieterse@westerncape.gov.za .

Mismanagement can set rapist free

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DAWN Provincial Chairperson:

The unacceptable mismanagement of a rape case in Deben highlights the cracks in service delivery to victims of sexual offences. Due to the unprofessional conduct of the police in this specific case, the alleged rapist could very well walk away from the crime he committed without suffering any consequences.

While many officers are going beyond the call of duty on a daily basis, it is the mismanagement of this matter which shows why 62% of people in the province believe that the police are lazy and 29% believe they are harsh to victims. The Victims of Crime Survey 2014/15 further shows that only 32% of people in the province believe that the police respond to crime in a timely way.

The victim was left for 31 hours after the rape occurred before a police officer came to take her for the necessary forensic tests. In Deben, where there is a small police station, the correct procedure is for an officer who is on standby to come from Kathu and to take the victim to hospital. While the rape occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning and a statement was taken from the victim shortly thereafter, an officer only arrived at 11:00 on Friday morning to collect her. She was first taken to Kathu and then to Kuruman.

During the 31 hours when the victim was waiting for assistance from the police, she could neither wash herself nor change her clothes. The rape was so brutal that her stomach emptied itself. To be left in this horrifying position is traumatising and it easily could have been avoided if the police acted with a minimum standard of professionalism.

Three days after the rape occurred, the crime scene was left untouched as the police had not yet come to do the required investigation. In the absence of a professional investigation with strong evidence, the perpetrator could be left off the hook. This is especially outrageous when you consider that the rapist is known to the victim and that he is currently out on parole for another crime.

The local DAWN branch has requested an investigation into the matter.

It needs to be established why the standby officer did not take the victim to hospital immediately, why the crime scene was left untouched and what action will be taken against those police officer who failed the victim in her time of need.

Every South African deserves to live in safety and security. When that safety is compromised, we deserve to be served by police who care about our needs and conduct themselves with complete professionalism.

Cooperation improving safety on Table Mountain

Joint statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety

Brigadier Norman Modishana, Acting Deputy Provincial Commissioner, South African Police Service (SAPS)

Paddy Gordon, Table Mountain National Park Manager (SANParks)

Alderman JP Smith, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member: Safety and Security

Marc Truss, Chairperson Table Mountain Safety Forum (TMSF):

The regenerated Table Mountain Safety Forum has seen safety concerns on Table Mountain National Park addressed in a cooperative nature by all authorities responsible for safety service delivery in the park, as well as by a large subsection of interest and user groups operating daily on Table Mountain.

This approach has already resulted in increased visible policing on the Mountain as a whole, as well as faster and more coordinated responses to incidents on the mountain.

Most recently, the working of the Table Mountain Safety Forum helped to secure the arrest of suspects responsible for the mugging of two University of Cape Town students in November.

Background to the Table Mountain Safety Forum

The Table Mountain Safety Forum (TMSF) was initially formulated in 2011 in response to an increase in crimes reported on the Table Mountain National Park.  The Forum which was established to increase safety on the Table Mountain chain through a focused and coordinated approach by all role players involved, met regularly, saw successes and continued interacting in good faith throughout the last couple of years.

Since the beginning of 2015, safety incidents around Table Mountain renewed public interest on the authorities’ attempts to curb and prevent incidents of crime.

These incidents saw the Department of Community Safety revisit the role players involved in the TMSF with the aim of broadening inclusion on the forum. The renewed partnership and targeted interventions towards prevention of crime needs continuous and innovative responses by all involved.

The re-launched Table Mountain Safety Forum (TMSF) met for the first time on 4 August 2015 and has continued to meet on a monthly basis to improve the safety of all mountain users.

The TMSF comprises senior representatives from the South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town and its law enforcement affiliates, the City Improvement Districts, Cape Town Tourism bodies, as well as various user groups and interest groups such as the Pedal Power Association, the Hikers Network and Table Mountain Watch.

TMSF Cooperative Operational Success

The working of the TMSF has seen all agencies involved recommit efforts cooperatively to help ensure timely and adequate responses to any safety related incidents occurring on the mountain.

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is in place between all the relevant law enforcement agencies with a Joint Operational Control centre instituted for efficient detection, response and monitoring of safety related incidents stretching the entire Table Mountain National Park.

The cooperative approach has seen all 14 SAPS station commanders bordering the Table Mountain National Park, SANParks Rangers, Metro Police, City Law Enforcement and partnering safety organisations remain in constant communication to report and address risks to safety on the mountain.

The City of Cape Town’s emergency number 107 (from a landline) and 021 480 7700 (from a mobile) has been agreed to be the preferred communicated emergency number to dial as it is a direct link to the Joint Operations Centre (JOC). As a result of interaction at the forum, SANParks officials have been deployed to the JOC in order to assist with location confirmation in order to dispatch the appropriate emergency response units.

Important to note is that SANParks still has a 24 hour patrol operating on the Table Mountain National Park with more than 150 rangers patrolling during the day, as well as a reduced night patrol unit, supported in their duties by dedicated service dogs.

The SAPS, Metro Police and City Law Enforcement have also increased their patrols on the Mountain, on foot, on horse-back and on all-terrain vehicles.

The Department of Community Safety has deployed Chrysalis Graduates to the SANParks to act as a safety force multiplier assisting the SANParks Rangers in their daily safety related tasks. The Department is looking forward to formalising this arrangement through the necessary Memorandum of Understanding which will enable an expansion of the safety services currently being offered.

Other operational successes include the consideration of innovative and technology enhanced approaches to assist with safety on the mountain such as the possible development or use of a Table Mountain Safety App or even the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for surveillance, tracking and identification of suspects if possible.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility

The TMSF is heavily dependent on the time, expertise and inputs of all the interest groups and user groups currently serving on the forum to remain in touch and responsive to the needs of communities frequenting the mountain.

These groups not only display a passion for the beauty and preservation of this World Wonder on our doorstep but also bring innovative ideas to the table and identify areas of improvement for all to consider.

Though we, as the Table Mountain Safety Forum, know that despite our best efforts to prevent incidents on the Mountain, incidents still occur and that is why we need everyone to take responsibility for their own immediate safety and the safety of those around them.

We urge you as individuals to support the user groups and law enforcement entities in their efforts to establish and maintain a safe environment on the Mountain. We urge any user or interest group to contact the TMSF to find out how we can all become mountain safety ambassadors.

We urge the public to report any incident on the Mountain to the authorities in order for the appropriate response to be actioned – call 021 480 7700 (from a cell phone) or 107 (from a landline).

Every incident prevented, emergency responded to and criminal activity successfully foiled through cooperative deployment and public support is a success for the TMSF and for the greater Cape Town community.

Through working better together as the public service, private entities, and the public at large, we are confident that we can stand united in ridding the Table Mountain National Park of anyone who thinks they will be able to get away with unlawful activity. As a community of mountain users our eyes are on you and through the dedicated work of the law enforcement agencies, you will be caught.

Traffic Officials must be more visible on our roads during the festive season

By Jane Sithole MPL, Interim DA Spokesperson on Safety and Security:

The following member statement was delivered by Interim DA Spokesperson on Safety and Security, Jane Sithole MPL, during a sitting at the Ehlanzeni District Council Chambers today.

Honourable Speaker.

I rise to deliver a member statement on behalf of the Democratic Alliance.

With the festive season upon us, the number of road accidents are already starting to increase. Taxis, trucks, passenger vehicles, busses etc. are all vulnerable to accidents.

With Mpumalanga sharing a border with two countries, the amount of traffic on our roads will also steadily increase.

Bad driver behaviour and fatigue are the leading causes for accidents on our roads, with intoxication following suit.

All people travelling on our local roads need to be attentive and ensure that their behaviour does not add to the death toll on our roads.

As such, The DA calls on the MEC of Safety and Security Vusi Shongwe, to intensify all programmes relating to road safety and ensure that traffic officials are more visible on our roads. We further call on all drivers to obey the rules of the road and be extra vigilant during this time.

I thank you.

#16DaysofActivism– Happy Valley, Safety starts in Your Family

Media Advisory:

Today, Friday 4 December 2015, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato, the South African Police Service (SAPS), our safety partners and community members will take a public stand against violence and abuse in Happy Valley, Blackheath.

For the duration of the internationally observed 16 Days of Activism Campaign, running between 25 November and 10 December annually, the Department of Community Safety is reaching out to various communities where incidents of abuse, violence and the marginalisation of women and children in our communities places them at risk.

The outreaches will see the safety partners raise awareness by means of a public march together with the community, culminating in a street meeting to raise awareness about abuse, to provide intervention services where needed as well as to encourage all in our communities to take a stand against abuse.

Through meaningful partnerships, like the partnership between the SAPS, the Department of Community Safety in the Western Cape, our safety partners and the public, we are taking a united stand under the theme: “Safety starts in Your Family”.

We challenge every person in the province to ensure that safety starts in their family and to observe 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children towards 365 days of action to eradicate violence from our communities, Better Together.

There will be an opportunity for photographs and interviews.

ALL MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND

Details:

Date:              Friday, 4 December 2014

Time:               16:00 – 19:00

Venue:           Meeting point for the march to start at 16:00:

Corner Allan Busakwe Road & Kuphumleni Street, Blackheath

GPS coordinates: -33.973811, 18.685341

Assembly point for ceremony to follow the march:

Corner Congo Road and Great Kei Road, Blackheath

GPS coordinates: -33.970602, 18.686021

For updated event information and the march starting points, please visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/community-safety/documents/public_info/D/19705 or https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/16-days-activism-no-violence-against-women-and-children-2015

Table Mountain Safety Forum improving safety on Table Mountain, Better Together

Media Advisory:

On Sunday, 6 December 2015, the Table Mountain Safety Forum (TMSF) will brief media on the ongoing interventions to improve the safety of all visitors and users of the Table Mountain National park and its surrounds.

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato, together with senior representatives from the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Parks (SANParks), the City of Cape Town, the Chairperson of the Table Mountain Safety Forum, and the safety partners of the forum, will discuss the successes that have resulted from their collaborative approach to safety at the TMSF.

The re-launched Table Mountain Safety Forum (TMSF) has since its first official meeting in August 2015 focussed on renewed partnership and targeted interventions to improve the safety of all mountain users.

There will be an opportunity for photographs and interviews.

ALL MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND

Details:

Date:              Sunday, 6 December 2014

Time:               11:00

Venue:           Lower Table Mountain Visitor’s Centre parking area, Table Mountain Road, Cape Town

GPS coordinates: -33.943148, 18.395664

ANC councillor spites defecting DA activist by having electricity cut off

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

The DA can reveal that an activist of ours in Lithuli Park, has had her home’s electricity cut off at the request of the ANC ward councillor, to spite her for crossing from the ANC to the DA.

Rebecca Phago who until recently was an ANC activist, defected to the DA because ANC service delivery in her community has completely failed.

Rebecca started to recruit members for the DA in her ward, but the ANC Ward Councillor threatened to cut services to her home if she proceeded to exercise her right of political freedom.

The ANC ward councillor has now made good on his continuous threats and had Phago’s electricity cut off by the Polokwane Municipality. After several complaints to the municipality, she was referred back to the very same councillor to take up her grievance, which is an untenable situation.

After exhausting all possible avenues, Rebecca laid a charge of intimidation under cas/689/11/2015 at the Seshego Police Station against the ANC Ward Councillor.

To date the investigating officer of the case has provided no updates or feedback, while Phago’s electricity remains switched off.

The DA believes that all cases reported to SAPS must be fully investigated without fear or favour and not wilfully neglected due to the complainant’s political affiliation.

The DA will be writing to the Provincial Police Commissioner lt-gen Fani Masemola, requesting him to follow up on this matter and to report progress to the DA.

The DA remained concerned by the reluctance of police to investigate a charge of intimidation laid by a DA member against an ANC ward councillor.

Letter to the Editor – A fish rots from the head

By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison:

LAST week, during a KZN Legislature Sitting, the DA called for Provincial SAPS Commissioner, General Mmammonye Ngobeni to be suspended with immediate effect pending the outcome of an independent investigation into her fitness for office.

This follows a long history of allegations of abuse of power by General Ngobeni and certain other senior police officials.  It includes recent media reports of alleged backhanders from businessman Thoshan Panday in lieu of favourable tenders and exemptions from criminal investigation.

A fish rots from the head.

While dedicated police officers are being murdered by criminals, KZN’s police leadership and management are engaging in enriching themselves and protecting alleged criminality.

Our province’s many hardworking and dedicated police officers and our communities deserve a Provincial Commissioner and senior police management that is morally beyond reproach and who themselves are dedicated towards keeping KZN residents safe.

Community safety MEC completely out of her depth

Michele Clarke MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety:

Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, clearly does not know what is happening in her department nor does she apparently read any reports relating to the Auditor General’s findings on her department.

Her ignorance – although she signed off on these reports, was exposed yesterday, in a questions session in the Legislature.

The MEC challenged certain statistics I quoted from the Auditor General’s findings. This report showed that some employees worked more than 30% of their salaries in overtime-claims which is in direct contravention of the PFMA.

The MEC further questioned the DA’s source of information relating to the department’s outcomes in Key Performance Areas (KPAs) while this was clearly reflected by the 2014/15 Annual Report she endorsed.

It is truly unfortunate that her outbursts expose a leader who is completely out of touch with the insurmountable challenges which face her department.

MEC Nkosi-Malobane would do well to educate and familiarise herself with the reports on her department to ensure greater accountability and efficiency and ultimately the safety of all residents in Gauteng, instead of attacking the DA for facts she ought to be aware of.

DA welcomes farm murder sentencing

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

The Democratic Alliance in the North West welcomes the sentencing of Joseph Papi Hala who was found guilty of murdering farmer Johan Van Rensburg in Leeudoringstad in 2014.

Hala was sentenced to 15years imprisonment; the DA applauds the police in their investigation to see that justice was served.

The DA is however concerned with the growing number of farm attacks, it has been reported that in 2015 there have been 116 farm attacks and 27 farm murders.

The Agricultural sector plays an important role in South Africa’s economic growth and job creation especially in the development of rural areas.

North West is a predominantly rural farming area, the DA is concerned with the lack of urgency shown by government to properly combat these attacks.

The high level of farm attacks and murders further emphasizes the need to re-establish specialised units to tackle specific crimes. The DA calls on the MEC for Community Safety Mr Gaoage Molapisi to establish a specialised unit to deal with the unacceptable level of crime and violence in rural areas.

For the agricultural sector to flourish and attract investors government needs to create a safe conducive environment for farmers to work in.

The DA’s vision is to keep rural communities and their property safe.