SAPS national commissioner Khehla Sitole said the police were trying to find a security solution to crime as a societal problem. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - SAPS national commissioner Khehla Sitole on Tuesday said the police were trying to find a security solution to crime as a societal problem.

Responding to questions from MPs on measures to deal with crime after the release of crime statistics for 2018-19, Sitole said the collapse of the national crime prevention strategy led to SAPS being an all-purpose agency with an overstretched mandate to fulfil.

"What we miss is a national crime prevention framework in the country. That national crime prevention prevention framework is a platform that gives us all the opportunity to address both root causes as well as the modus operandi and symptoms that lead to crime."

He agreed with the MPs that there was a need for national crime summit and then discuss the suggestions made by Parliamentarians.

The MPs had called for cooperation among departments to fight crime and tackle its root causes.

Sitole also said they noted the need for inter-cluster engagement among government clusters across departments.

He noted that there was not justice, crime prevention and safety (JCPS) cluster framework, which was being developed.

"We need a JCPS framework that can relate to the national crime prevention framework."

Sitole also said they lacked a transnational crime prevention framework.

"We need it as a country to interact with other countries."

Sitole said once the various frameworks were in place, the issue of crime would never be a security issue only.

He told the committee that policing would be less expensive if the root causes were removed.

The Operation Thunder currently underway in the Western Cape was proving expensive with R90 million since last year because of financing the root cause and hard core policing.

Sitole also said the environmental design was gradually deteriorating everyday.

"The more it deteriorates it poses a danger to the police and more crime gets out of control."

He also said the family structure in society was diminishing.

"I'm sure it is our last line of defence in society...If we work together to protect family from further deterioration, I think, we can save society." 

Sitole added that the society was sitting with injured human and spiritual values.

"Because they are injured, they are reaching an irreparable stage. Once we can no longer repair our values, you can imagine what will happen," he said.

"We need those interventions where we can all work together and mobilise each other and one another," Sitole said.

Political Bureau