Durban - Levels of crime, especially sexual offences, in KwaZulu-Natal remained unacceptable, despite the slow decline shown in the recent crime statistics, Premier Zweli Mkhize said in his State of the Province address in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
Mkhize said that while the latest statistics showed that sexual offences decreased by 3.94 percent and rape by 2.16 percent, “any incident of sexual abuse remains extremely traumatic”.
He said the government would strengthen programmes aimed at curbing violence against women and children. These include one-stop Thuthuzela centres that offer specialised victim care.
Mkhize said a provincial committee on management of sexual offences has been established to monitor the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act.
He stressed the importance of community involvement in the fight against crime, saying this fight would be won only when criminals were isolated within society.
“Criminals must be made to feel that the tide of societal disapproval has turned against lawlessness and lack of respect for the rights of others.”
He commended residents in Wentworth, Chatsworth and Inanda for their participation in programmes to root out criminals in their communities, saying information from the public had resulted in arrests of drug lords who had eluded police for many years.
“We are reclaiming the space occupied by the drug dealers.
“We are right on the heels of those who rape and kill our grandmothers and daughters.”
He said the government would intensify anti-drug campaigns. A newly established forum chaired by Mkhize was launched in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.
On corruption, Mkhize said the government had processed 149 investigations this financial year relating to irregularities in procurement. He said 212 disciplinary hearings had been conducted, resulting in 29 officials being fired.
“We have registered 99 criminal cases with the police and 67 cases of disciplinary hearings are in progress.
“The message is loud and clear, fraud and corruption shall not be tolerated.”
In 2011/12, 2 033 cases of fraud and corruption were reported to the police while 16 forensic investigations were carried out in various departments.
He said to stay ahead in the fight against corruption, the government was now vetting employees in government departments and parastatals.
Highlights of the speech:
The province was committed to creating 2.1 million jobs by 2030, but to achieve this, the provincial economy would have to grow by 4 percent a year between now and then.
This year’s budget would include a R13 billion injection into new projects and for the maintenance of existing projects.
R100bn allocated for the dig-out port project while more work is under way to develop a dry port at Cato Ridge.
2 500 housing subsidies for middle-income earners to be provided this year.
Funds to be shifted from the construction programme to maintenance to deal with potholes.
The first youth academy to be launched next week. The centre will train young people as artisans.
HIV/Aids prevalence has stabilised from 39.5 percent in 2009 to 37.4 percent, while the waiting period for antiretrovirals has been eradicated.
Since the start of the biometric verification process, about 24 464 fraudulent beneficiaries of social grants have cancelled claims for bogus children.