Community Safety MEC Alan Winde, Mayor Dan Plato and Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith. Photo: Facebook

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town plans to increase the visible policing presence in vulnerable communities and invest even more funds into much-needed capital projects like fire stations.

Mayor Dan Plato said on Wednesday he wants to see "even more budget allocated to our enforcement agencies and rescue services in the next financial year, and the public will get to have their say when we publish our annual budget in March this year".

Additional funding for the City’s Safety and Security Directorate has become available through the adjustments budget, which will go before council for final approval on Thursday.

"When I was elected as mayor in November 2018, I committed to visiting our communities and hearing first-hand what they wanted from the City of Cape Town. The response was not unexpected due to the limitations placed on policing in this city by National Government," said Plato. 

"As the City of Cape Town, however, I believe there is more that we can do to increase safety in our communities and that is why we are allocating an additional R165 million to the Safety and Security Directorate in our annual adjustments budget.

"With this money, we will be able to increase our visible policing presence in vulnerable communities and invest even more funds into much-needed capital projects like fire stations. This is just the start of our efforts to increase safety levels in our communities."

The allocation of R165,2 million comprises capital expenditure of R42.2 million and operating expenditure of R123 million.

Among the planned capital projects that will benefit from this added injection, are:

– R7.5 million for an upgrade of the Ndabeni vehicle pound million for an upgrade of the Ndabeni vehicle pound

– R2.6 million in additional funding for the Somerset West Fire Station

– R15 million to procure between 36 and 40 replacement vehicles, depending on the type of vehicles required

– R5.5 million for additional two-way radios for Law Enforcement staff

The planned operating expenditure includes:

– R30 million to recruit additional Law Enforcement officers

– R10 million for uniforms, personal protective gear and equipment for staff

– R50 million for additional overtime allocation to ensure a more sustained, 24/7 service and R20 million to cover related fuel costs

– R8 million for repairs and maintenance of vehicles in the various departments

– 44 new CCTV cameras across the City in vulnerable areas, and a new camera room in Ocean View

– Expanding our K9 Unit, thanks to funding from the Western Cape Government

"The staff in our Safety and Security Directorate provide an invaluable contribution to safety in our city, in spite of very trying circumstances. 

"In the previous financial year, they contended with an unprecedented increase in land invasions and protest action; worked tirelessly to patrol the streets amid ongoing gang violence; worked non-stop to plan for the potential impact of one of the worst droughts on record as well as an increase in attacks on staff."

During the 2017/18 financial year, the number of arrests made by the City’s enforcement agencies increased 17% year-on-year, as outlined in the release of the annual statistics. 

The number of firearm confiscations increased exponentially, as did the number of screenings for driving under the influence (DUI). There were increases in the amount of liquor confiscated, notices issued for traffic and by-law offences as well as overloaded vehicles, to mention just a few categories. 

A full breakdown of some key statistics by department is available at 
http://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre%20Assets/ENFORCEMENT%20STATS.pdf

"The sheer volume of work that gets done is staggering and I don’t think many people fully appreciate it. It is also worth noting that the City’s Safety and Security Directorate is likely the most transparent public safety agency in terms of accounting to the public it serves," said Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith. 

"I note that a few other metropolitan municipalities have started providing monthly updates on their enforcement statistics – this has been the norm in Cape Town for many years. 

"Our pilot project in Delft with the Neighbourhood Safety Team, which added some 100-plus officers there every day, has shown good results and we would be in a position to expand this to our other hotspots with this extra budget." 

The Western Cape government has contributed R3 million to bolster the Metro Police K9 Unit.

"The Western Cape government is determined to do everything it can to make this a safer Western Cape. That is why we have made additional funds available to support the City of Cape Town’s professionally staffed Law Enforcement team. 

"The contribution towards the K9 Unit is intended to help address drug-related crime. Earlier this year, we transferred almost R4 million to the City to support School Resource Officers. These funds go toward keeping our learners, and their learning spaces, safe from criminals," said Community Safety MEC Alan Winde. 

"Despite seven of the top 10 murder precincts being located in Cape Town, including the murder capital of SA, Nyanga, the national government has refused to give us enough police – in fact, they have gradually withdrawn 4 500 cops from our streets over the last four years. 

"I commend the City’s Law Enforcement agencies for the excellent work they do under challenging circumstances to fight crime in our city. 

"They have increasingly stepped up to fill the gap in many areas where SAPS is failing, including gang violence, rail enforcement, liquor enforcement, metal theft and marine enforcement."

The City is aware that there are many public safety challenges that remain – not only in Cape Town but across the country and even more that will come to the fore in future. While most of these challenges require much more than an enforcement response, the City is committed to assisting communities in need. 

"We hear the pleas of our communities and we are responding. The people of Cape Town must feel safe, and while the South African Police Service (SAPS) remains the primary law enforcement authority.

"I want to make sure that, as the City of Cape Town, we play our part in doing everything we can to keep our communities safe," added Plato.

Cape Times