ANC: R165m for Cape Town safety budget a reward for 'Sheriff' JP Smith

2019-01-31 15:59
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato. (Peter Abrahams, Son)

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato. (Peter Abrahams, Son)

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The City of Cape Town has passed an adjustment budget that would make a further R165m available for safety and security, despite the ANC's objections that it is only a reward for "sheriff" JP Smith for the role he played in removing former mayor Patricia de Lille.

In his first address to the council for the year, Mayor Dan Plato said communities made it clear during his "listening tour" that the City must deal with crime. 

"And that is why I have allocated an additional R165m to our law enforcement services in this year's adjustments budget," he said.

SAPS discriminating against poor people

"Speaker, before I get into the detail on this one, I just want to point out that, in December last year, the Equality Court, in a damning judgment, found that the SAPS is discriminating against poor people, and in particular black communities, in the allocation of policing resources."

He said it is shameful that the SAPS had to be taken to court for them to hear what they have been saying for so long – this province and this city needs more policing resources. 

He complimented civil society organisation, the Social Justice Coalition, for driving the issue on behalf of communities. 

READ: City of Cape Town pumps R165m into safety and security

"I will be keeping a close eye on this case as I want to see a remedy being proposed as we cannot go on just talking about SAPS (the SA Police Service) denying this city the policing it deserves."

He said the additional R165m was "just the start of our efforts to increase safety levels in our communities". 

"I want to see even more budget allocated to our law enforcement service in the next financial year, and the public will get to have their say when we publish our annual budget in March this year. 

More officers and new vehicles

"We are going to start with recruiting an extra 100 officers and 40 new vehicles with this adjustments budget, but I want to see even more officers on our streets over the next two years." 

The R165m for law enforcement will go towards recruiting new law enforcement staff, new radios and equipment, paying overtime to those officers who help the City to provide a round-the-clock service, new vehicles and CCTV cameras, and upgrading fire stations in the areas most affected by fires. 

"We are also very thankful for additional funding we have received from the Western Cape government to expand our K9 Unit for the City of Cape Town," said Plato, who was the Western Cape MEC for Community Safety before he became mayor.

"The people of Cape Town must feel safe; and, while the South African Police Service remains the primary law enforcement authority and falls under the national government's operational control, I want to make sure that, as the City of Cape Town, we do everything we can to keep our communities safe."

After Plato was done with his speech, speaker Dirk Smit asked a handful of protesters to be removed from the public gallery.

ANC councillor and leader of the opposition in the council Xolani Sotashe said they would not support a budget that was "purporting to support looting", to which the DA benches burst out laughing. 

"This budget is about JP Smith," Sotashe said, undeterred.  

"We know what is happening in that department," he said. 

Earlier, at a press briefing before the council meeting, the ANC also set out its problems with the adjustment.

ANC chief whip Thandi Manikivana said the ANC was worried that the R165m would not help secure the people of Cape Town. 

'Sheriff JP Smith'

She said "Sheriff JP Smith" was being rewarded for his role in the removal of De Lille. 

"It tells you JP Smith is the mayor of Cape Town," Sotashe said.

He said they suspected the issue of kickbacks might arise. 

They are also concerned about cronyism and nepotism in the department. 

Later on Thursday, a report on the allegedly irregular appointment of Robbie Roberts as director for policing and enforcement services was due to be discussed by the council behind closed doors. Sotashe said the ANC would endeavour to have the report discussed in the open.

The ANC was also unhappy about the City's performance when it came to housing, and Sotashe said the national government took back an R175m grant because the City failed to spend it.

The EFF and Democratic Independent Party also said they would not support the adjustment budget because it did not serve the people, especially the poor people, of Cape Town. ACDP councillor Demetri Dudley supported it and said the ACDP has asked for an increased budget for safety and security. 

The budget was passed by 143 votes to 59, with no abstentions. 

After the vote, Plato went outside to listen to people protesting about service delivery outside the civic centre, flanked by Sotashe and ANC councillor Khaya Yozi.

Plato said he would visit their communities to listen to their concerns, with the appropriate mayoral committee members in attendance.

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