MEC: It’s war on criminals

2009-09-28 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL — Transport, Community Safety & Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu claims the gloves are off and the province is about to “unleash a people’s war on criminals”.

Mchunu has decried the state of affairs in relation to crime and criminals in our province, calling it “a hostage situation”.

He was speaking in Durban at uMkhumbane community hall over the weekend.

Mchunu said, “We are under siege. We are held hostage by criminals and the fear of crime”. The MEC was addressing a provincial briefing at which the formation of Community Safety Forums (CSF) was discussed.

CSFs are envisaged as a multi-agency structure that will fall under local government to ensure the co-ordination of community safety efforts by government and civil society.

The briefing comes days after the release of crime statistics that revealed “an unacceptable high level of contact crimes”.

The briefing was attended by SAPS, Correctional Services, Community Policing Forums, National Prosecutions Authority, municipal managers, ward committees, the Home Affairs Department and the Justice and Constitutional Development Department among others.

The core function of CSFs is to promote access to the criminal justice system, arrange regular feedback to communities by the criminal justice system, and to develop, co-ordinate, and implement a community safety plan.

It is expected that CSFs at a district level will be launched later this year.

Mchunu told the gathering that to win a war against crime, “we must have a clear target — a list of known criminals in our communities, report all crimes to the police, and in turn, the police must investigate thoroughly and diligently.”

He said the police must report progress to all people who report crime, and to the victims. “This we expect and deserve. We need to know the progress of police investigations or lack thereof.”

Mchunu undertook that as part of his duty, he will ensure a greater monitoring of police work. He urged communities to become partners. “Communities must isolate criminals. Communities must not buy stolen goods. A war against crime is winnable …” the MEC said.

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