1 000 new cops earmarked for Western Cape - MEC

2019-06-21 14:58
Minister of Police Bheki Cele addressing Hout Bay community members. (Kamva Somdyala, News24, file)

Minister of Police Bheki Cele addressing Hout Bay community members. (Kamva Somdyala, News24, file)

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No fewer than 1 000 new police recruits - of the 5 000 currently receiving training - will be deployed to the Western Cape.

This is the assurance given to Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz this week during a meeting with police minister Bheki Cele to address policing needs and priorities in the province, he said on Friday.

Fritz said in a statement that Cele had vowed that the resourcing of Western Cape's police stations was being addressed and that the recruits would be deployed immediately after completing their training.

READ: Damning new study suggests Western Cape police target the poor

The under resourcing of the province's force saw former community safety MEC and current Premier Alan Winde declare a formal intergovernmental dispute with Cele in April, accusing him of ignoring the province's policing needs.

At the time, Winde charged that the ANC government had given the DA-led province fewer resources to fight crime, compared to other provinces. He said, while one officer must protect 375 people on average nationally, the Western Cape ratio was 1:509.

Equitable distribution of police resources

Fritz, who succeeded Winde, said Tuesday's meeting with the minister had been "conducted in a cordial spirit of collaboration and co-operation", with both agreeing that "building safer communities requires immediate and priority attention".

He said that Cele and himself had agreed that the complexities surrounding the equitable distribution of police resources would be best dealt with through a negotiated process, aligned with the determination of a remedy to address the ruling of the Equality Court last year in the matter of the Social Justice Coalition vs the Minister of Police.

The court found that the system employed for the allocation of police resources in the Western Cape unfairly discriminated on the basis of race and poverty.

Fritz said that Cele was willing to engage on the provincial government’s proposals to alleviate the police's work.

This included the proposed funding of R5m it had made available to pay for police reservists to be deployed in the province, as well as an offer of provincial government volunteers to take on administrative duties at police stations, so that more police officers are freed up to fight crime on patrol.

"Both parties agreed that this money should be invested for maximum impacts in the efforts by both governments to create safer communities," Fritz said.

"Minister Cele highlighted the need for a whole of society approach for the eradication of crime and raised environmental design challenges, as one of the issues SAPS is unable to resolve by the additional allocation of resources alone."

Cele's spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  service delivery  |  crime

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