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Fritz determined to eradicate Western Cape crime after examining 'troubling' stats

Acting Police commissioner in the Western Cape General Thembisile Pathekile, MEC of Safety and Security Albert Fritz and Chris Nissen of Human Rights. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Acting Police commissioner in the Western Cape General Thembisile Pathekile, MEC of Safety and Security Albert Fritz and Chris Nissen of Human Rights. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 18, 2021

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Cape Town - Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz has said that the provincial government remains steadfast in combating crime.

This comes after the national quarterly crime statistics were released by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday.

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The report covered the period from January until March 2021.

“I am committed to doing whatever it takes to change this trajectory, so that the Western Cape becomes a safer place for all our residents,” Fritz said.

The report showed that between 2019/20 and 2020/21 the murder rate was reduced by 6.93% from 21,325 to 19,846 cases nationally and by 3.94% from 3,975 to 3,818 in the Western Cape.

During the fourth quarter (January to March), the murder rate in the country increased by 8.4% and the murder rate in the Western Cape increased by 2.7%.

Fritz said during the first quarter (April to June 2020) there was a significant decrease in the number of murders as well as during the fourth quarter, but these were periods when Covid-19 lockdown regulations were most restrictive and the reason for the smaller increase in the murder rate provincially and nationally.

The report showed Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Kraaifontein, Delft, Nyanga and Gugulethu police stations remain among the top 10 stations in the country where murders are reported, while Harare and Delft are among the top 10 police stations where rapes are reported in the country.

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“The figures are deeply troubling. A case in point is the 335 robberies with aggravating circumstances in a community like Nyanga. Surely it is not possible for the people of Nyanga to live a normal life in such circumstances where there is on average 11 robberies with aggravating circumstances every single day,” Fritz said.

He said he was concerned as the report came amid talks of budget cuts in the criminal justice system, including the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

He said more resources were needed for fighting crime, not less. Fritz agreed that while there were economic difficulties, crime should top the list of spending priorities.

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He said the local government was determined to see a safer Western Cape and that the province’s safety plan will be gaining momentum this year, with more deployments to some of the worst-affected communities.

Fritz said on July 1, 250 officers from the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) will be deployed and a further 250 officers will be deployed on October 1.

“This will bring the total number of LEAP officers deployed to 1 000. The area-based teams (ABT) are also presently being set up, and these ABTs will have the support of 1 000 youth safety ambassadors who have already been deployed and who will work on violence-prevention initiatives,” he said.

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Fritz said he remained resolute in ensuring that the scourge of murder and violence is defeated in the long term.

“While I am disturbed by the seemingly persistent nature of these crimes, I am also confident that, through the work of our provincial safety plan, we are laying the basis for a significant change in the future. We are 100% committed to this fight, and we plan to win it,” Fritz added.

African News Agency (ANA)

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