Fears are growing among communities on the Cape Flats that the threat of law enforcement officers permanently downing tools could leave them vulnerable. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Fears are growing among communities on the Cape Flats that the threat of law enforcement officers permanently downing tools could leave them vulnerable. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Law enforcement strike threat leaves Cape Flats residents in fear of rampant crime

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Nov 26, 2019

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Cape Town - Fears are growing among communities on the Cape Flats that the threat of law enforcement officers permanently downing tools could leave them vulnerable to criminals.

It emerged over the weekend that law enforcement officers that are on contract working for the City are demanding permanent jobs.

Cape Metro regional chairperson of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) Mzoxolo Miselo said: “Most of our members who normally patrol at the beaches will not be available to work voluntary overtime, while more than 50% of these expected to work cannot because they have already reached the maximum 40 hours allowed overtime per month.”

Miselo also alerted the public of the unsafe conditions visitors are likely to face during the festive period.

Samwu is alleging that the City is taking on more contract workers from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

“EPWP law enforcement officers are on a three-year contract. They are are sometimes expected to perform beyond the scope of their work by having to chase gangsters in the townships, yet they are not peace officers.

“The maintenance of law and order is the function of SAPS and not EPWP, but because they are so desperate for work these youngsters are risking their lives,” he said.

About 150 protesters marched to the City of Cape Town civic centre on Saturday to hand over a memorandum.

Among some of those demands was a demand to convert EPWP law enforcement officers to permanent roles.

Richard Bosman, the City’s executive director for safety and security, said he received the Samwu memorandum and promised to respond within five days.

The ANC’s Khaya Yozi, a member of the safety and security directorate, said the threat of law enforcement officers downing tools should not be taken lightly.

“If there are no additional resources to assist the SAPS we will see a spike in crime.

“Our position is that if there are positions open for these officers to apply for permanent jobs they should get first preference,” he said.

Cape Flats communities have also raised concerns.

Mitchell’s Plain Community Policing Forum chairperson Abie Isaacs said: “It raises a concern to us if there is a potential strike from them, noting the fact that we are currently in the festive season when we need all boots on the ground and we hope that both parties will sit around the table and find common ground on subject matter.”

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, responded: “There are dangerous and irresponsible lies and misrepresentations in [the Samwu] statement which have to be corrected.”

He promised a statement on Monday, but failed to do so.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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