Western Cape Gang-related Crimes – BuzzSouthAfrica can confirm that the Western Cape (WC) Premier is working towards getting members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed to the province to fight gang-related crimes.
Already, the WC Cabinet is set to discuss SANDF intervention in the fight against gang violence at its next sitting. In the sitting, Premier Helen Zille will table a proposal on the issue.
From what we gathered, discussions would also be held with the Provincial Police Command. After that, a formal request would be presented to the relevant national Minister for SANDF’s intervention.
Commenting on Western Cape gang-related Crimes, Zille expressed that the under-resourcing of the South African Police Service (SAPS) among other things, has made it difficult to solve the problem.
She said: “The public frustration is entirely understandable. The question the Western Cape provincial government must address is: What can we do to solve the problem? The answer, unfortunately, is very little, due to the way our Constitution and the law apportion powers over policing.
“South Africa is, to my knowledge, the only country in the world where provinces have the very limited mandate of ‘oversight’ over a highly centralised national police service, without any operational control over the police, no policy-making powers, and minimal ability to effect the necessary changes.
“The fact is a mere 7% of police precincts in the Western Cape account for almost half of all murders. Police under-resourcing patterns tend to be evident in the same areas where crime is highest.”
Having said that, the Minister divulged that the proposal she will table would ask the national government to intervene and authorise the deployment of SANDF members so that they can help the SAPS fight crime in WC.
Although the national government rejected similar requests made in the past by the province, the Premier is hopeful it would be granted this time.
She indicated that section 30 and 31 of the Defence Act made provisions for SANDF members to perform police functions.
“…Defence Force members can be deployed as force multipliers to assist the police and blanket an area to crack down on drugs and crime. Of course, this must be done in the context of commitment to co-operative governance.
“We will have to discuss the proposal in detail in the Western Cape cabinet, as a precursor to discussions with the Provincial Police Command, as a prelude to approaching the relevant national ministers.
“We will have to make a strong evidence-based case of the extent of the crisis in certain areas, while avoiding, at all costs, an exercise in political point scoring.
“We owe it to the people living in these unbearable circumstances to use every constitutional lever we can to help resolve the daily problems they face,” added the Premier.