File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

“We haven't reached a state of lawlessness in SA,” says Police Minister Bheki Cele, but the Delft Community Policing Forum (CPF) disagrees – accusing the SAPS of being chiefly responsible for the fifth highest murder rate in the country and a high level of crime.

In the 2017/18 crime statistics released by Cele on Tuesday, Delft recorded the fifth most murders in the country and the third most in the province with a total of 195. Delft also placed in the top 10 countrywide when it came to contact crimes with a total of 3 181.

Delft CPF secretary Farieda Ryklief told the Cape Times on Tuesday that “fear of corrupt cops” is the reason for the high crime and murder rate in the area.

“Delft being third on the list for the Western Cape is no surprise to us. As a CPF we are, however, frustrated by poor police services.”

Ryklief doesn’t believe deploying the army is a solution, saying: “We suggest a complete turnaround of Delft SAPS members from management straight down. Deploying new officers has proven to make no change simply because the same corrupt cops that guide them remain in position.

“We need police to police our area in order to have an active CPF too. But stakeholders are reluctant to serve on the CPF in fear for their lives as many of them have been exposed to life-threatening situations.

“I strongly believe we as a community can only achieve our mission of crime prevention if corrupted officers are removed from the Delft SAPS.

“The Delft community and stakeholders have lost trust in the police and have become completely dependent on Neigbourhood Safety Teams and the City’s Law Enforcement for assistance.”

Judging by the statistics, gangs seem to be able to operate with impunity – out of the 973 gang-related crimes committed countrywide, 808 occurred in the Western Cape, with the Eastern Cape markedly lower in second place at 87.