More officers for Western Cape violence hotspot

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
Jaco Marais
  • The Western Cape government will employ another 500 Law Enforcement Advancement Plan officers for key violence hotspots.
  • This will increase the total number of officers in the programme to 1 000 by October.
  • The provincial government will look at making changes to alcohol legislation in a bid to decrease incidents of violence.

There will be another 500 "boots on the ground" in the Western Cape as part of the provincial government's safety plan.

The plan has already placed 500 Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers in key violence hotspots in Cape Town, but the provincial government intends to double this number by October, Premier Alan Winde said in his State of the Province Address.

The address was given in Genadendal on Wednesday.

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"This means that by the end of this year, the Western Cape's crime fighting-capacity will have been boosted by 1 000 of our own officers. This will make a real difference in our fight against gang violence, which continues to be a key driver of murder in our province," Winde said.

Winde added that the safety plan aimed to pursue "violence prevention strategies that will make a real difference in our communities".

"Its objective is to halve the Western Cape's murder rate in 10 years and, in doing so, to fundamentally change the lives of millions of people for the better."

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The province also intends to recruit 120 peace officers for six vulnerable municipalities and 56 peace officers have been trained and placed in Laingsburg, Prins Albert and Beaufort West, Winde said.

The Youth Safety Ambassador Programme will be launched in April and will see 1 000 young people trained and deployed as violence prevention facilitators in selected communities across the province.

"The safety ambassadors will play an important role within the area-based teams in assisting with the combatting of youth violence and murder at local community levels. They will also receive a monthly stipend and training opportunities to better their job prospects," Winde said.


But the province's safety plans go beyond the deployment of officers.

The province intends to tackle one of the causes of violence by changing alcohol legislation.

"There can be no doubt that there is a clear, causal relationship between alcohol abuse in our communities and violence. We saw this again in December when the most recent alcohol ban drastically reduced the number of people reporting to Western Cape emergency centres over the festive period," Winde said.

The province will present the first of a series of amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act to the regulatory impact assessment committee next week, Winde said.

"We cannot allow the status quo regarding alcohol and violence to continue in the Western Cape. But we also cannot continue banning alcohol either…. Our intention remains to have this amendment bill published for public comment in the next few months," he said.

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