The City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith has rejected what he deems as a “dangerous single police service agenda”. This comes after the Chairperson on the Portfolio Committee on Police Tina Joemat-Pettersson said they are currently revising amendments to an act which will put the City’s Law Enforcement Unit scope under the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID).
“As in our presentation, the lack of IPID oversight over Law Enforcement lies in the hands of national government – only national government can change the legislation – and we have repeatedly asked for the legislation to include Law Enforcement (LE),” Smith said in a statement. “There are many municipalities across the country with Law Enforcement staff and they are all in the same situation and without IPID oversight.”
“The National Portfolio Committee has not ‘advised’ anything. At the end of the meeting the chair read out what was clearly a predetermined ‘resolution’ by the ANC that they wanted Law Enforcement included within Metro Police so that they would be subject to IPID,” he added.
According to Smith, the City’s response to this is clear and entails the following:
- LE functions effectively without having to resort under the Metro Police. Any attempt to force them under metro police is not done with the safety of Cape Town’s residents in mind, but rather with the political objectives of a party that has failed to improve safety for our residents for years
- they have no power to compel the City to do so and
- the Committee should rather amend the IPID Act as suggested years ago
- the true reason the Committee wanted to incorporate Law Enforcement under Metro Police was so that they could attempt to hijack both at the same time when the single police service amendments to the Police Services Act happens over the next 12 months
“Instead of focusing on fixing what isn’t working in the SAPS they instead want to fiddle with areas that don’t need their input,” Smith said. “As for amending the IPID act to include Law Enforcement as one of the agencies IPID has oversight over, this has been a repeated request from the City for years. Failure to do so is entirely in their hands. Law Enforcement is subject to more oversight than SAPS with six oversight entities.”
Smith maintains that the City of Cape Town has emphasised repeatedly that every officer has a competency certificate.
“It is the SAPS provincial commissioner who issues these certificates and it is therefore unclear why these are being requested from the City. SAPS only need to check their records. However, since it appears that SAPS either fails to keep record or has forgotten where they keep the certificates they issue, the City will issue SAPS with copies of these certificates in the upcoming week,” the Mayco Member said.”There is an excellent working relationship between the City and SAPS at a grassroots level, with SAPS regularly calling on us to assist in operations, doing joint planning interventions and commenting that they would not be able to do their work without the City.”
Joint planning was impossible for the first three weeks of the spate of land invasions that started in July which strained the relationship until the provincial government intervened to fix the problem.
“The City has put forward a request to the Police Portfolio Committee to increase the public order policing units in the City of Cape Town since there are only four units in the entire province. This compares unfairly with other provinces who enjoy greater POPs with far less need for them.”