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Western Cape gets lion’s share of anti-gang unit funding

Police Minister Bheki Cele said top 30 high contact crime stations have been prioritised with at least an additional budget allocation of R62 million. Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Police Minister Bheki Cele said top 30 high contact crime stations have been prioritised with at least an additional budget allocation of R62 million. Picture: Bongani Shilulbane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday said top 30 high contact crime stations have been prioritised with at least an additional budget allocation of R62 million.

Tabling the R100 billion budget for SAPS, Cele said R25m will be directed to the safety and security at police stations.

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He also said KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Easter Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo have received the biggest allocations of funding.

Cele also said R26m additional funding will capacitate anti-gang units.

“The Western Cape province has the lion’s share of this budget with R10m allocated towards preventing, combating and investigating gang-violence in that province.”

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The minister was adamant that the budget would support efforts and operational plans to deal with stations that contributed to high murder and attempted murder stats, including other violent crimes.

“The additional budget allocation over and above the baseline budget must make a difference in Umlazi, Plessislaer, Harare, Kraaifontein, Delft, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Kagiso, Thohoyandou, Lusikisiki and others.”

Cele sent a strong message to the top brass of the police saying the budget should be spent in its entirety.

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“We will not accept any roll-overs in this financial year otherwise heads will roll.”

The minister also said the cases from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) were receiving priority from the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPC).

There have been complaints about delays in the prosecution of TRC cases with the National Prosecuting Authority, saying its role was to prosecute when investigations were completed.

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Cele said the DPCI has hired investigators on a three-year contract with 34 already assigned to investigate the TRC recommended cases.

“From the 100 TRC cases on hand, six of these are currently on the court roll with an inquest also in court. Seventeen cases have been referred to the NPA for decision while 76 others were under investigation.”

The minister said the DPCI would also be attending to 22 210 cases involving national priority offences, including the Steinhof International Holdings investigation.

Cele said even though the unforeseen delays in resolving the matter were concerning, over 300 statements have been obtained in the highly complex investigation that extended to 12 jurisdictions.

“Currently there are 32 additional witnesses whose statements are to be obtained in South Africa and abroad.”

He also said the DPCI will in conjunction with the Independent Directorate focus on cases emanating from the Zondo Commission.

“Of the various recommendations relating to law enforcement, a number of cases were already under investigation and some of these matters were already serving before court.”

In addressing the DNA backlog within the Forensic Science Laboratories, Cele said progress has been made.

The backlog has been reduced by 38.71% from 251 603 to 154 204.

“To this end additional allocation of R50m will support all buccal samples and collections kits operations.

“Another additional budget of R100m will be allocated to the provinces over and above baselines to support all programmes related to gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) plans and Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit resourcing including the top 30 stations.”

A total of R14bn has been allocated for activities related to GBV and resourcing of FCS units.

“R1.263bn of this amount will go towards the unit’s operational expenses including human and other resources. A total of R30m will be geared towards the serving of youth, children and vulnerable groups, including awareness campaigns.”

“This is why task teams will be established in 18 identified hotspots linked to municipalities with highest reported cases of such crimes,” he said.

“These multi-disciplinary task teams will focus on extortion at construction sites and businesses and illegal mining. The highly skilled teams will tackle theft of non-ferrous metals, copper cables and put in measures to combat and stop illegal mining,” he added.

The minister told the MPs that the task teams would also tackle essential infrastructure crimes such as the tampering, damaging or destroying of infrastructure related to energy, transport, water, sanitation and communications services.

“Critical infrastructure crimes will also be on their radar, which involves the attack, damage or theft of fuel pipelines and related crimes. Legislation to this effect is also under way.”

Cele also said the Public Order Policing (PO) has been prioritised and that it would receive an additional 4 000 members during the financial year.

R150m has been allocated to the Operation Response environment as part of the once-off allocations over a three-year period for capital modernisation, including procurement of armoured vehicles and aircraft.

A further R9m has been set aside for the procurement of protective gear for POP members.

Cele also said the National Treasury has allocated R5.8bn for the recruitment of 12 000 new police trainees over the medium-term expenditure framework.

Cape Times

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