Today, under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety launched the Overstrand Municipality’s K9 Unit, consisting of six Belgian Malinois dogs with six dog handlers at the Grotto Beach and Nautilis site in Hermanus.
The K9 Unit will be deployed and situated within the municipal law enforcement directorate, but will services the entire Overstrand area.
The deployment of the K9 Unit forms part of the Provincial Safety Plan (PSP), which aims the halve the murder rate in the province over the next ten years. The PSP rests on two legs, namely violence prevention and law enforcement, and this deployment forms part of the various initiatives in the latter of the two legs.
In attendance at the launch was the Overberg District Mayor, Ald. Andries Franken; Overstrand Executive Mayor, Ald. Dudley Coetzee; Members of the Provincial Legislature, Messrs Reagen Allen and Mesuli Kama; Cllr. Frederick Africa and Ald. Kari Brice from the local municipality; Cluster Commander Donovan Heilbron; as well as officials from the local municipality, local SAPS stations, Cape Nature and the Provincial Department of Community Safety.
Minister Fritz said, “the K9 Unit was an initiative first conceived while Premier Winde was still Minister of the Department of Community Safety, and it gives me immense pleasure to carry forward this exciting initiative and bring to fruition something that will increase safety for our citizens of the Overberg.”
Minister Fritz continued, “we know that coastal towns are particularly affected by trade and transportation of illicit substances. This unit will go a long way in assisting law enforcement operations to track down perpetrators and improve the safety of residents in the Overberg.”
The K9 Unit dogs have been trained especially to assist in some of the following activities:
- Preventing the illegal transportation of narcotics, explosives and poaching of marine resources;
- Delivering crime prevention through an integrated multidisciplinary model aimed at combatting and prevention of criminality;
- Ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation including the National Road Traffic Act, the Criminal Procedure Act, Drug and Drug Trafficking Act and Firearm Control Act;
- Increasing coverage through the deployment of K9 resources after hours; and
- Maintaining a high degree of visible policing by means of K9 patrols, deployment to identified areas, including key points and identified crime hot spots.
The Department of Community Safety has provided funding to the Overstrand Municipality to facilitate the establishment of the Unit, supporting the district municipality’s safety plans. This launch follows the establishment of two K9 Units in the province, in the City of Cape Town and Swartland municipality respectively.
The Department has also provided vehicles to assist with the transportation of the K9 Units to the various areas within the region for the purposes of searching and the detection of narcotics, contraband, explosive devices, firearms and ammunition. This includes two VW Amarok double cab bakkies to the value of R1.36 million in total.
Minister Fritz said, “transversal and inter-governmental partnerships have been identified in our Provincial Safety Plan as crucial to the fight against crime. We have managed to build good working relationships with the SAPS, as well as with the Metro Police in Cape Town; but also with other municipalities.
“We also seek to foster similar relationships with NGOs, communities and all other stakeholders in the fight against crime. Today is is a realization again of that kind of thinking. We must work together to build and strengthen partnerships to ensure a safer Western Cape for each and every one of our citizens.”