The GOOD Party is calling out the City of Cape Town for abandoning its ShotSpotter Initiative, a project that cost ratepayers R32-million.

ShotSpotter is a US-created gunshot detection system that can help identify suspects. Its technology can detect gunshots for consistent, rapid, precise police response, and detect the highest crime risk areas for directed patrols to maximum crime deterrence.

It was introduced by the City in 2016 as a commitment to eliminate gangsterism and was focused on areas like Manenberg and Hanover Park. Bredell says it detected 6688 incidents of gunfire, and together with CCTV resulted in the “successful arrest of a number of perpetrators”, the recovery of 60 firearms, 1010 rounds of ammunition and eight imitation firearms between 2016 and 2019.

In response to a recent written provincial parliament question from GOOD party general secretary Brett Heron on what technology is currently being used to monitor and reduce violence in the Cape Flats, Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell explained that there is currently no gunfire detection system being used by the City.

Herron is now criticising the City for “quietly abandoning” the project that cost ratepayers a lot of money. According to Herron, Bredell offered no reasons for its abandonment when the city’s contract with the US owners of the technology expired in 2019.

In a statement, Herron said that the City’s 2020/2021 Annual Police Plan identifies the issue of illegal firearms as a grave concern, and lists ShotSpotter as part of its “Innovative Policing to enhance methodology”, despite the project ending in 2019.

Herron says the GOOD Party plans to alert the Provincial Commissioner of Police that the Annual Police Plan she certified is “phoney”.

“The Annual Police Plan misleads, while families on the Cape Flats continue living under siege,” said Herron. “The Mayor and his councillors must stop bamboozling ratepayers with hyperbole and fake news. In particular, the City must stop paying lip service to people for whom navigating an environment of criminality and gangsterism is not a game of cowboys and crooks but part of their daily lived reality.”

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