DA to demand answers on crime stats

Cape Town – Police in the country are under-resourced, under-equipped, undertrained and understaffed, the Democratic Alliance believes.

And they want answers on how Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and acting national commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane are planning to better the situation.

The DA briefed the media on Thursday on the crime statistics, set to be released on Friday.

Nhleko will brief Parliament’s police committee on the statistics between April 2015 and March 2016. 

DA MPs Zakhele Mbhele and Marius Redelinghuys expressed concern over the growing crime levels in the country.

"Each year, we see increasing levels of crime, especially violent and property crimes, and, while we hope that this year will buck the trend, we see no reason to believe that tomorrow’s release will be any different," Mbhele, who serves on the police committee, said.

He said the government had abandoned its mandate to keep South Africans safe.

The country was losing the war on crime, Redelinghuys said, and answers were needed.

The DA would be putting five questions to the minister on Friday when he released the crime stats, they said.

These were:

• How will the chronic underresourcing and understaffing of the SAPS at station level be addressed and, specifically, how will they ensure that the scarce resources at their disposal are efficiently used for the reduction of crime?

• What will the minister do differently to ensure that SAPS Senior Management Service members are fit-for-purpose, given the training they need and strongly held accountable to carry out their jobs effectively?

• How will he ensure equipment shortages, which are currently not properly captured on the SAPS system, are identified timeously so that replacements can be issued? In addition, will he proactively pursue public-private partnerships to assist in this regard?

• What measures will the minister implement to boost the detective services and to fix the crime intelligence divisions?

• When will the minister start releasing the crime stats on a quarterly, instead of an annual basis?

According to Mbhele, if the detective services and crime intelligence divisions were properly equipped, crime would plummet.

In the crime statistics released last year, 16 of the 26 crime categories had shown an increase.

Incidents of murder increased by 4.6% between 2014 and 2015, while aggravated robbery increased by over 8%.

The crime statistics also needed to be put into perspective, according to the DA. 

"These statistics, numbers and proportions, often hide the true face of crime which are the everyday people who have been victims. It is easy for us to forget that there are very real human faces behind each of these numbers."

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