412 murders, zero convictions slammed
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WITH 412 murders between three policing precincts in 13 months and zero convictions for these crimes, the provincial Community Policing Forum (CPF) has called on SAPS to build watertight cases against perpetrators who "roam freely".
Answering parliamentary questions last month, MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz said that between March 1 2020 and March 31 2021, Delft Police Station had 232 reported murders - 34 of them gang related.
At Mitchells Plain Police Station, 107 murders were reported with 65 of these suspected to be gang-linked, while at at Philippi Police Station 73 murders are being investigated for the same period, 44 of which are suspected to be gang related.
Provincial CPF spokesperson Fransina Lukas said these are shocking figures.
“These are very worrying to our communities plagued by gang violence. If arrests were made then the disconnect is at the courts. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) needs to work hard to ensure convictions and SAPS investigating officers must ensure watertight cases are brought before the courts.
“The Cape Flats communities cannot afford murderers to roam our streets freely. The law must be enforced,” said Lukas.
In answering why convictions had not yet been affected against any of the accused murderers, Fritz said the matters were still before the courts and were not yet finalised.
Probed about what the Community Safety directorate would be doing in an effort to curb crime in the affected communities, Fritz’s spokesperson, Wade Seale, said the directorate operates within a legislative context but has undertaken a two-pronged approach to reducing the murder rate.
“The constitutional mandate of provinces, insofar as policing is concerned, is limited to oversight and relations between communities and the police.
“That said, the Western Cape government has developed and is guided by the Provincial Safety Plan, which has a two-pronged approach to reducing the murder rate by half over the next 10 years. The two prongs are Violence Prevention and Law Enforcement, respectively.
“Violence Prevention looks at driving social interventions which are geared towards preventing crime and violence way before reaching the point of requiring law enforcement intervention,” said Seale.
Seale added that a popular theme in this prong would be youth development, and a typical programme that the department is presently running is the Safety Ambassador Programme in which 1 000 youths have been placed through internships in areas where there is significant gang activity.
Enquiries to the NPA could not be answered by deadline as the spokesperson is currently on leave, with further communication that the NPA office was closed for decontamination.