The MEC for community safety in the Western Cape Advocate Albert Fritz said he has held talks with Police Minister Bheki Cele about the province's policing needs. Picture: Phando/Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The MEC for community safety in the Western Cape, Albert Fritz, said on Friday he has held talks with Police Minister Bheki Cele about the province's policing needs and priorities.

Fritz in a statement said the meeting that occurred on Tuesday was conducted in a cordial spirit of collaboration and cooperation.

"Both Minister Cele and Minister Fritz agreed that the task of building safer communities requires immediate and priority attention," Fritz's spokeswoman Cayla Ann Tomás Murray said

"Minister Cele gave the assurance that the resourcing of police stations in the Western Cape is being addressed with no fewer than 1,000 new police recruits, out of the 5 000 currently receiving training at the SAPS Academy, that will be deployed in the Western Cape immediately after they have completed their training."

Cele and Fritz agreed that the "complexities surrounding the equitable distribution of police resources", will be best addressed via a negotiated process.

This meeting comes after Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde wrote to Cele in October and again in December detailing the urgent policing needs of the province.

However, after no response, Winde instituted an inter-governmental dispute on police resourcing in April, which led to a mediation meeting in July.

Winde said the meeting that is set to take place on 4 July would determine the precise nature of the dispute, identify mechanisms other than the courts to resolve the dispute and then agree on a mechanism and its implementation.

"Minister Cele also expressed his willingness to engage further on the proposals made by the Western Cape Government to alleviate the work of police and in particular the funding which was made available by the Western Cape Government in the amount of R5 million," Tomás Murray said.

"Both parties agreed that this money should be invested for maximum impacts in the efforts by both governments to create safer communities."

Cele highlighted the need for an approach where the whole of society helped to fight crime.

He said this is as it is one of the issues SAPS is unable to resolve by the additional allocation of resources alone. 

Fritz agreed that dialogue with interested stakeholders was vital and both parties committed to follow-up dialogue sessions on a regular basis for this purpose. 

"We now look forward to building a solid, constructive and productive relationship with Minister Cele and his team going forward with the aim of 
ensuring that the ongoing surge of crime in this province is ended and every possible means is provided to assist the South African Police Service in achieving this goal," Fritz said.

African News Agency (ANA)