Cape Town - The long arm of the law enforcement agencies in Cape Town, has been significantly strengthened with the granting of additional powers by the Minster of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, has welcomed the declaration that gives law enforcement officers additional powers and said they were in the process of rolling out the incremental training that would guide the officers when implementing it.
He said the limitations on the powers of enforcement agencies were determined nationally and in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, therefore the increase in powers was conferred from a national level.
Smith said that, unfortunately, “misguided beliefs about the operations that the different departments within the directorate should perform are often not accurate, as departments are often limited in terms of incidents that they may respond to.
“This is why we have numerous complaints of motorists who are stuck in peak time traffic complaining about a law enforcement officer who doesn’t do anything about a taxi on a yellow line. All they see is a person in uniform not assisting or turning a blind eye to a traffic offence,” Smith said.
“What they don’t realise is that until now law enforcement officers could not intervene by law. This has changed and the powers of officers have increased generally, such as most of the schedule 1 offences and the Criminal Matters Amendment Act that deals with damage to critical infrastructure, giving them national jurisdiction. Therefore, they won’t be tied to municipal boundaries,” he said.
The training underpinning the new powers was ongoing and the law enforcement basic training course had been adapted accordingly.
It is envisaged that all 1500 officers would have undergone the primary phase of the training by December.
Smith said the Safety and Security Directorate had identified the need for the increase in powers of law enforcement officers in 2016, and since then it had lobbied tirelessly for this to happen.@SISONKE_MD