The South African Police Services (SAPS) confirmed this week that the Western Cape will not receive the amount of police recruits promised by police minister Bheki Cele. The province will only be receiving 1 118 new recruits during the course of the current financial year.
“Action Society believes that the ANC is literally trying to suffocate the Western Cape with violence. Deploying less police members than what was budgeted for, will mean more innocent people will be subjected to violent crime, rape and murder, especially in the crime ridden areas of Khayelitsha and Mannenberg,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society.
Cameron shared the concerns of provincial parliament member and provincial community safety committee chair, Reagan Allen that the amount of new police members is almost 1 000 members less than what was budgeted for, whilst violence in some areas is on the increase.
Action Society has not only been advocating for Minister Cele to be removed from his position due to his complete incompetence and lack of accountability, but also support calls for devolution of the SAPS in the Western Cape.
Cameron continues: “It will be far better for the safety of South African citizens to get the service they actually vote for, in the Western Cape. Right now they are hostages of the ANC’s cadre deployment disaster that is paralysing law enforcement efforts nationally. Decentralisation of the SAPS in the Western Cape will mean that citizens will not be dependent on a national body that has been tarnished by political interference for years.”
The Western Cape has for many years had the most vacant posts in the police compared to other provinces. A report by the Public Service Commission published in 2018, found that 85% of police stations in the Western Cape are understaffed. A year later, in 2019 the Western Cape police ombudsman indicated that the ratio of officers to population in the Western Cape fell well short of the UN’s recommendation of 1:200, with SA’s ratio sitting at 1:383.
“If devolution of the SAPS does not happen, it simply means that policing will further deteriorate and we will increasingly be reliant not only on community safety structures, but also on provincial and local government law enforcement structures that don’t always have the same broad mandate that the South African Police Service does. If we do not change the way government attempts to police, we cannot expect any positive change.” Cameron concluded.