At this year’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA), Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, addressed the issue that Cape Town police stations, particularly in high-crime poorer communities, are grossly under-resourced.
The minister lashed out at Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis saying: “The DA’s difference is a racial difference, you see it in a police station in Gugulethu, and a police station in Bishopscourt.”
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While Cape Town’s Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis shares Minister Gungubele’s sentiment on the lack of resources at police stations in Cape Town’s highest crime areas, The minister needed to be reminded that police stations are run by the national government.
The mayor noted that around 71% of police stations in our region are under-resourced by the national government.
Mayor Hill-Lewis said: “While Minister Gungubele clearly missed the mark in trying to land a political attack, his admission is helpful in making a point we have been making for years: Many Cape Town police stations, particularly in the most crime-afflicted communities, urgently need more resources.
“We hope the Minister’s inadvertent discovery that he and the national government actually run police stations spurs him to do something about this resource shortfall, particularly on the Cape Flats. While gang, gun and drug crime rages on, there are innocent people, including children, caught in the crossfire. Yet conviction rates for gang crime are in the lower single digits.”
The Western Cape Government, in partnership with the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP), has placed 1 200 new police officers in communities in Cape Town that are most affected by high crime rates. These areas include Delft, Nyanga, Khayelitsha (Site C), Philippi (inclusive of Hanover Park), Bishop Lavis, Mfuleni, Harare, Gugulethu, Kraaifontein, Mitchells Plain, Atlantis, Philippi East, and Samora Machel.
Mayor Hill-Lewis added that police resourcing is about more than just officers, and extends to vehicles, computers and safety technology. Cape Town is leading the way when it comes to using data and tech to fight crime – from drones to dashcams. The City’s arrest rate has more than tripled in recent years due to increased investment, with 50% of these arrests being drug-related.
The City continues to request for more policing powers to be deployed to help make Cape Town safer: “Our well-trained, trustworthy municipal law enforcement officers are immediately available to help SAPS fight crime, if they have the powers we are asking for.”
“All that is required to devolve more peace officer powers is a declaration from the Justice Minister under the Criminal Procedure Act, as was already done to an extent in 2018. Last week, I again wrote to both the Ministers of Police and Justice calling for this simple, immediate way to bring meaningful change for residents.
“We will never stop standing up for Capetonians who live in daily fear of crime, and children should feel safe to play outside. That is the Cape Town we are striving towards, where there is freedom of movement for residents and a chance at a better life, ” said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
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Picture: Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis / Facebook