If the ANC can’t do it properly, we will do it, says DA's Maimane
Cape Town - The number of operational South African Police Service (SAPS) members will be increased from 194 000 to 250 000 and that number boosted with a strong police reservist force when the Democratic Alliance comes to power, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.
"When the ANC government refused our demands for a special anti-gang unit, we did it ourselves in the City of Cape Town under the leadership of JP Smith. And finally, years later, they realised that it was the right thing to do and reintroduced the specialised unit," Maimane told a DA voter registration rally in Bonteheuwel in Cape Town.
"If the ANC can’t do it properly, we will do it. We want to decentralise policing and give provinces real power in crime fighting and community protection," he said.
DA Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde had made it clear that he would fight for a provincial police force that could best serve the communities of the Western Cape.
"We want a police force for our province, controlled by our province, for the people of our province. That is what we want, and Alan is going to fight for it. Ultimately, the goal is a DA-led national government. Because in national government we can realise our dream of a safe South Africa by transforming our police force into one with the skills and the power to kick violent criminals, gangsters, and drug dealers out of our communities for good," Maimane said.
To do so, the DA would professionalise the police force, appointing only skilled and qualified leadership, and focus on the four U’s - under-staffing, under-training, under-resourcing, and under-equipping.
The DA's plan also involved rigorous testing and assessment of all police recruits, as well as more practical training and simulated learning at police academies. It involved regular firearm testing, crowd control training, as well as mentorship for all detectives.
"Our plan will address under-staffing by increasing the number of operational SAPS members from 194,000 to 250,000 in our first term of office and then boosting these numbers with a strong reservist force. We will fill all specialist positions and we will build a team of crime intelligence analysts and detectives. We will bring back all the specialised units and we will move more officers from their desks into communities.
"Under the DA, our police force will be transformed into a highly trained, highly motivated crime-fighting machine. Criminals will have nowhere to hide and we will ensure that arrests are followed by prosecutions and convictions," he said.
Maimane said over the next four months the DA would run a positive election campaign based on its plan to grow the economy and put people in jobs, a plan to speed up service delivery, and a plan to make every community in safe from criminals.
"We will show our track record in delivering the best government for all people and ask voters to judge us on this track record. Other parties will try to steer the conversation away from these things. Those without a plan and a credible track record will try to turn regular South Africans into enemies of each other. They will try to find scapegoats for their failures. They will use inflammatory and divisive language, creating a false 'us' and 'them'. And they will try to keep you focused on our past rather than our future. There is only one party that has proven, again and again, it has what it takes to move this country forward, and that party is the DA," he said.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the Western Cape. Over the past 10 years the DA had transformed the Western Cape from the broken, dysfunctional province it inherited from the ANC into one that led all other provinces in every measure of good governance. Today the Western Cape had the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa, more than half the jobs created in SA this past year came from this province, and it was the easiest province to do business in.
"So when other parties come here with their divisive messages of 'us' and 'them', or when they promise you the world but offer no proof of how they plan to deliver, tell them you’re only interested in a government that can help create jobs, a government that can speed up service delivery, and a government that can keep your streets safe," Maimane said.
African News Agency/ANA