Crime clampdown

2013-09-11 00:00

THE fight against crime in Kwa­Zulu-Natal kicked into higher gear yesterday when a provincial council against crime was introduced to interest groups in Durban.

But the council has already drawn flak from the IFP, which accused MEC Willies Mchunu of unilaterally deciding on its formation.

The council, a brainchild of the Community Safety and Liaison Department, seeks to co-ordinate province-wide initiatives against crime. Speaking at a briefing session, Mchunu said the council would provide a bulwark in the fight against crime.

The list of proposed council members will now have to be approved by the acting premier or the new premier.

“Once this council is up and running, it will offer a structured engagement vehicle between the provincial government, civil society and national structures in pursuance of all mandates of the department. This will also improve the scope and the effectiveness of our programmes,” Mchunu said.

He said his department currently made use of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster, voluntary crime prevention structures, crime forums and ad hoc platforms to form a partnership and drive crime-prevention initiatives.

“There are some limitations in the functioning of these platforms in that there is no overall structure that co-ordinates all these activities province-wide,” Mchunu said.

The council is expected to provide strategic advice, and assist in development of safety and crime-prevention strategies, as well as monitor and review progress made and facilitate support to non-government and government organisations, among other things.

It is expected to meet twice a year, and would involve district community safety forums, safety teams at voting districts and ward safety committees.

At yesterday’s briefing session, interest groups were to make three nominations — one of whom was to serve on the council against crime on approval by cabinet.

Blessed Gwala said the IFP found it strange that the Community Safety and Liaison portfolio committee found out about the council only when invitations to the briefing session were issued.

“ The ANC government always talks about working together with other parties, yet they fail dismally to practice what they preach.

“Instead of taking this initiative to the portfolio committee — which is a multi-party forum that carries the mandate of the electorate — the MEC decided to ignore us and instead go on to implement his idea,” Gwala said.

But portfolio committee chairman Bheki Ntuli threw the committee’s weight behind Mchunu’s efforts to fight crime.

Other speakers also hailed the council as an effective and necessary move in combating crime.

Gugu Zondi called for all departments to play an active role in the council so that crime could be substantially reduced.

Lindelani Shezi of the South African Youth Council said: “We are excited with the launch of the structure to fight crime. We support all initiatives in the department.”

Previous KZN attempts to fight crime

•  August 2013

It was reported last month that provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni wrote to cluster commanders ordering them to shut down the task teams formed to fight dangerous syndicates and drug lords.

Officers assigned to the task teams were to return to their stations of origin.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker was quoted as saying after a few months cluster task teams became ineffective and needed to be brought back to the stations.

• April 2013

In the wake of the rape of senior citizens, the KZN government established a forum where elders were expected to engage with the youth and share ideas on how to end the problem.

The initiative was to be held under the provincial flagship programme called Mazibuye Emasisweni, but never got off the ground.

• October 2012

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu called for the de-politicisation of community policing forums.

He made the statements at the CPF annual general meeting held in Durban last October.

In a statement, Mchunu said CPFs were dysfunctional because they were turned into parallel political structures of a dominant political party in some parts of the province.

• Multi-party Forum Against Political Violence brings together all political parties in their efforts to fight against violence and intolerance. The forum, led by MEC Willies Mchunu, goes to hot spots where there is political violence.

•  Operation Sukuma Sakhe, led by former premier Zweli Mkhize, embarked on a campaign against drug trafficking and abuse in partnership with communities in Chatsworth, Wentworth, Merewent and Inanda.

The communities were encouraged to supply the police with concrete information, which has resulted in high-profile arrests of drug lords.

•  February 2012

The controversial organised crime unit at Cato Manor was officially disbanded and faced an investigation that resulted in the arrest of some of its officers for their alleged complicity in crime.

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