The DA commends the SAPS for the overall decrease in crime for the past reporting year, but cautions both the police and the MEC for community safety, security and liaison, Mr Vusi Shongwe from claiming that the war against crime is slowly being won.
The DA analysed the provincial crime statistics from April 2003/4 to date, and these clearly show that incidences of crime have generally increased over the past seven years. Contact crimes, such as murder, attempted murder and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm have shown a general decrease, but property related crimes and other crimes have steadily increased.
It is commendable that crimes such as murder and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm decreased by 31,6% and 28,15% from 2003/4 to date respectively, but the DA is concerned at the high numbers reported. A total of 722 murders, 820 attempted murders, 14 436 assaults with intent and 10 340 common assaults were reported last year.
The overall statistics have also shown that crimes heavily dependent on police action for detection have shown a decided increase, especially drug-related crimes. The staggering 55,1% increase for the past year has clearly shown that the province is currently experiencing a drug crisis. Our porous borders with Swaziland and Mozambique contribute to the problem, and drugs too easily find their way to our province.
Drug lords are systematically taking over communities, and police are either not dedicated, focussed, or resourced enough to deal with this scourge. A classic example would be Hendrina, where drug dealers operate in close proximity to the local police station, yet police are unable to eradicate this problem.
The war against crime needs a much more targeted approach, and to this end, the DA proposes the following:
• Increase Community Policing Forums and encourage local citizenry, businesses and all stakeholders to join these forums;
• Increase the number of police officials on the frontline, and increase the capacity of detective services and their forensic support structures;
• Increase visible policing;
• Analyse crime statistics per police station, and prepare targeted strategies to combat specific crimes in that policing area.
• Re-establish specialised police units, especially the narcotics bureau.
The DA firmly believes that the war against crime is winnable, and that by utilising a focussed approach with well-trained and motivated police officials, the tide can be turned.
Anthony Benadie MPL
083 400 8554
Provincial media liaison
082 319 6666