Mayor Dan Plato calls on President Ramaphosa to recall and replace Minister Cele
‘I have noted the comments about police resources made by National Minister of Police Bheki Cele last week, and think it is absolutely shameful that he can stand on a stage and lie straight to the faces of the men and women in blue who are desperate for additional resources so that they can serve the residents of our city with the support that they deserve”
‘It is time that President Ramaphosa acknowledge the complete failure of Minister Cele to contribute anything positive to policing in South Africa, and recall him. South Africa deserves a police minister who cares about policing and cares about making the lives of South Africans safer. If the President leaves Minister Cele where he is, then it is clear that he does not really care about protecting the people of this country either. At local government level we have had to shift an increasing amount of our budget into safety services to try and make up for national government’s ongoing neglect of this key sector. Those are funds that could have been spent on other services but which we absolutely have to re-direct towards increasing safety services.’ said Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato.
The number of police officers in the Western Cape has fallen since 2018, although the population has grown, as has the requirement for policing. SAPS reported 19 391 employees in 2021, down 511 from the previous year’s total of 19 902 employees. The 2018 statistic already hinted to the SAPS’s serious resource shortages in the Western Cape, and given the underreporting of these figures as collected at Grassy Park and other police stations, the true policing numbers in the Cape are likely to be substantially lower.
The shortage of SAPS staff and equipment is well known to any community member or safety activist that works with SAPS. This deficit lies at the heart of the crime hardships our communities experience. This is especially true for the less visible parts of the criminal justice system, like the detectives, which routinely have a case load in excess of 200 cases each. This was again reported to the authorities at a public meeting in Grassy Park last month. The truth is that no detective can handle more than 20 or 25 cases at the most and any detective with 200 cases can at best investigate 20 of them and will inevitably fail to get results in the other 180, no matter how dedicated they are. The failure this creates in the criminal justice system ensures that limited policing resources are even further overwhelmed by the repeat offenders and career criminals.
‘As dire as the situation is, national government is making it worse with significant cuts to the police budgets over the next three years. These budget cuts that were approved by national government are projected to be a decrease in total budget by R11,9 billion over the next three years.
‘When one understands that these budget cuts could have been avoided if the national budget was not squandered on bailouts, failing SOEs or lost to looting and theft, then it feels like national government must be oblivious to the safety needs of our residents and the pain of the victims of crime.
‘How do they justify shrinking resources when communities face an increase in crime? Failure to make the safety of residents a priority is outright criminal, and shows how little the national minister cares for citizens despite the shameful spin of the national minister and his colleagues,’ said Alderman JP Smith.