Western Cape Mini-Budget: Prioritising safety of our residents
Opinion / 2 December 2019, 08:30am / David Maynier
On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, I delivered my maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
The MTBPS, or mini-budget, is an opportunity to make mid-year adjustments to fund new priorities ahead of the main budget, which takes place in March next year.
Because too many people live in fear in the Western Cape, during his State of the Province Address Premier Alan Winde promised that the Western Cape government would deliver a range of programmes that would keep people safe and he promised that we would make allowance for those programmes in the adjustments budget process.
Since then, we have developed a Western Cape Safety Plan, which is informed by evidence, will be implemented using the latest technology and aims to boost law enforcement capacity in our least safe neighbourhoods to deal with crime, especially violent crime.
In the mini-budget, I was able to fulfil that promise by announcing that the Western Cape government will allocate R130 million over the next 12 months to train and deploy the first 1 000 law enforcement officers in partnership with the City of Cape Town, providing us with more “boots on the ground” to fight crime in the Western Cape.
As part of an ongoing commitment to improving safety in the province, over the next four years we will be spending an initial amount of R1.3 billion to fight crime, especially violent crime, in the Western Cape.
It is a well-known fact that Western Cape residents and some communities, in particular, face extremely high levels of crime and violence. According to the 2018/19 national crime statistics, the Western Cape has the second-highest level of murder in the country, with the murder rate at 60 per 100 000 people, almost double the national average of 36.4 per 100 000 people. And almost half of all murders are recorded in just 10 police stations in the province.
We recognise that the SAPS is simply not being provided with enough resources to properly protect the residents and that is why these law enforcement officers will be deployed specifically to the 10 murder hotspots in the Western Cape.
More boots on the ground, informed by technology and data, will ensure that more criminals are caught in the Western Cape, with proper evidence that can help lead to prosecutions, removing them from the streets and ensuring that these neighbourhoods become safe again.
This evidence and data-informed strategy is crucial because it is well known that violent crime is usually concentrated in small locations, such as a specific block of streets, a park or a specific shopping centre.
If our visible policing resources are deployed to an entire police precinct without clear focus, they will have a limited impact in stopping violent criminals. That’s why we’re focusing on targeted policing where and when crime happens most and problem-solving with communities to ensure people are safe in the Western Cape.
When so many people have lost hope, and when so many people have lost trust, we are actually getting things done in the Western Cape.
* David Maynier is finance and economic opportunities MEC.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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