Tackling crime in SA's 'most complex province': Western Cape's new police commissioner gets ready to flex her muscles

2020-01-06 17:39
Western Cape police commissioner, Lt General Yolisa Matakata (right) with Premier Alan Winde and Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Western Cape police commissioner, Lt General Yolisa Matakata (right) with Premier Alan Winde and Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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The newly appointed Western Cape police commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, on Monday stressed the importance of working with Premier Alan Winde and Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz to tackle crime in the province.

Winde and Fritz gave Matakata a warm welcome after she was introduced by Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale and national commissioner General Khehla Sitole in Cape Town.

"I am honoured and humbled by the appointment, by the minister of police and national commissioner, where they have decided to have confidence in me to lead the province," she said, after a meeting with all parties.

Sharing one vision

"I met with the provincial leadership this morning, but still want comprehensive input from their side so we own the vision."

Normalising gang-infested areas once the army leaves and addressing the skewed distribution of police resources were two of the critical issues highlighted.

Winde pledged the provincial government's support and said he wanted all political parties to be united in giving Matakata the support she needed to do her job.

"We look forward to signing the protocol agreement with the National Police Minister, Bheki Cele that will lay the framework for how we co-operate on the implementation of the Western Cape Safety Plan."

Sitole said Matakata's appointment in December was a process which had been amicably agreed to by the province, as well as the national office and police ministry.

"The situation in the Western Cape needed a relevant person at the right time... it is the most complex province to lead and therefore she was brave," he said.

Sitole said they had to "fire with all cylinders" and take a highly strategic approach to deal with the root causes of gangsterism. 

This required the involvement of provinces and municipalities, added Mathale.

Matakata was acting Hawks head before Godfrey Lebeya was appointed to the position in 2018.

Building cohesion

High up on her list of priorities was building cohesion within the provincial police management team to ensure police were accountable and responsive to community needs.

She said there would be a special focus on normalising gang-infested areas once the SA National Defence Force had left.

They would address and focus on the generators of crime, mobilise communities and work collaboratively with other parties.

The skewed distribution of police resources also needed to be corrected.

"It is something which has to take place. It can’t be left hanging for so long," said Matakata.

In a case involving the Social Justice Coalition, the Western Cape High Court (sitting as the Equality Court) found that the system employed for the allocation of police resources in the province unfairly discriminated on the basis of race and poverty.

Sitole said the judgment came about because of an absence of an integrated resource strategy at national level, which had since been remedied with a total review of the criteria for resourcing.

Read more on:    saps  |  yolisa matakata  |  cape town  |  crime
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