With the country’s high murder rate continuing to be of concern, Police Minister Bheki Cele says provincial commissioners now meet on a weekly basis to account on violent crimes.
Cele said this when he tabled the department’s budget vote to a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Thursday.
“…The safety and security of any country, is measured against its murder statistics amongst other violent crimes.
“When we release quarterly crime statistics, the murder rate always makes media headlines.
“Hence we have introduced a practice where Provincial Commissioners, meet with station commanders on a weekly basis to measure station performance and account on crimes trends; in particular the murder cases per policing precinct,” he said.
In his address, the Minister called for the arrest of those responsible for the deaths of 24 officers who died in the line of duty at the hands of criminals.
Speaking on national interventions to deal with violent crimes, Cele said that further to the weekly meetings of the police top brass, national intervention plans, which involves crime combating and prevention operational deployment, are activated to respond to the top 30 murder stations. This is in order to address the stubborn murder trend and other violent crimes.
“The interventions to date includes the establishment of the Anti-Gang Unit, introduction of Operation Thunder, the Base Camp approach, Operation Vala, Operation Lockdown, Operation O kae Molao and many others.
“Moreover, national intervention deployments are heavily intensified in the Western Cape province which continuously proves to be stubborn in reducing violent crimes. The SAPS continues to enhance police visibility through crime prevention operations to promote law and order in the high crime areas of the Western Cape, especially the Cape metropole.”
In addition, joint operations between police and the SANDF yielded positive results in the identified top ten contributing murder stations.
He said the additional resources of Operation Thunder and the Anti-Gang Unit have contributed towards crime fighting in general, but in particular, the analytical understanding of the dynamics of crime and its contributing factors in the province.
“The negative impact of the environmental design on policing cannot be understated. It is a huge challenge to execute policing operations in areas where there are no physical addresses, no street lights, no access roads and many other challenges.
“Equally, an integrated approach and generic involvement of other departments and sectors of local government in eradicating crime contributors must be intensified,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal gets additional police
Cele said that the KwaZulu-Natal province has received national intervention deployment of additional police officers and vehicles, to increase police visibility and crime prevention operations.
The latest crime statistics revealed Plessislaer in Pietermaritzburg as a murder capital in the country, followed by Inanda and Umlazi.
He said that it is understood that the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner and his team of station commanders must spend sleepless nights in turning around the situation.
“Furthermore, we call upon the SAPS [South African Police Service] top management to implement the top 30 stations turnaround plan, informed by the Mpumalanga retreat resolutions. All Lieutenant Generals who are provincial guardians must really do justice to this important responsibility,” he said.
Fighting gender-based violence
Meanwhile, the Minister said there have been significant arrests made that involves pastors in places of worship, supervisors in the workplace, teachers in schools, family members, spouses, as well as boyfriends and girlfriends in the fight against gender-based violence.
This he said, should be applauded and highly publicised in order to reduce the number of reported cases going forward.
The latest crime statistics has revealed Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, followed by Inanda in KwaZulu- Natal and Thohoyandou in Limpopo as rape hotspots.
“While overall sexual offences have decreased by -3,9% in the last quarter of the financial year, the truth of the matter is that, one rape is one too many and we are calling upon all Provincial Commissioners to take lead in all operations aimed at addressing sexual offences and related crimes.”
He said that over R1.2 billion has been allocated on baseline activities related to fighting gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), both proactive and reactive responses to these crimes, and the resourcing of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units.