Port Elizabeth - The welfare and safety of children was one of the central issues discussed at Premier Alan Winde's executive council meeting on Wednesday, with crime and transport topping the agenda, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said in a statement.
Noting that it is Child Protection Week, the DA-led government called on community members to play a role in ensuring that children were "safe by being vigilant, reporting cases of suspected abuse and acting to protect those who cannot protect themselves".
MEC for social development Sharna Fernandez said that the communities needed to work with the Western Cape government to keep children safe. "The protection of children is something that we must be driving all year round and requires action from the whole of society.
Cabinet members also held a focused discussion on safety issues in the province and the impact of crime on our communities.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz blamed an inadequate police service for residents' exposure to gang-related violence. “Over the past week, we have had four incidences of children being shot at, with three fatally wounded.
"We have significantly bolstered our Neighbourhood Watches with resources and will be looking at further investments to capacitate these brave community men and women in the coming year,” Fritz said.
There have also been incidences of violence in our rural areas, with two murders in recent weeks.
MEC for Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, said that the provincial government has set up an inter-ministerial committee on rural safety to review and update its rural safety plan.
"Tomorrow, the premier and I will be meeting with Agri Western Cape to discuss the issue further. Working with community safety, we will also be expanding our Watching Briefs court case monitoring to rural cases, to ensure criminals are not let off by poor court processes,” Meyer said.
Winde said: “It’s been 30 days since we declared an inter-governmental dispute with the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and we have not yet heard from the Minister.
"We will continue to drive this dispute and are looking at the next steps available to us,” he said.
The provincial cabinet also discussed the need for urgent resolution of the suspension of the MyCiti express route between Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain.
MEC for transport and public works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said that many commuters had been left stranded because of the suspension, with negative effects on people's livelihoods and the economy, adding that an urgent solution to the problem was needed.
The cabinet also welcomed the appointment of the members of the standing committees, with the ANC accepting the DA-led government's offer to chair the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).
“I would like to wish Mr Luluma Mvimbi well in his new role and we look forward to him holding us to account,” Winde said.
African News Agency (ANA)