Cape Town - It has become necessary to take a critical look at crime prevention initiatives and interventions instituted by police, where they fall short and how best to address the matter, Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato said on Sunday.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with the South African Police Service (SAPS) provincial management and AfriForum regarding farming and rural safety, he condemned the recent attacks and murder which had occurred on farms in the Western Cape.
"The Western Cape government views every murder in a serious light. Let me be clear: no murder or violent attack in any community can be tolerated. The recent annual crime statistics revealed that we all have to do more, play our part better, if we are to confront crime in our province. Safety is everyone’s responsibility," he said.
The fact was that violent crime was highest in areas where police were most under-resourced. National government had operational control over the SAPS and the Western Cape government would continue to advocate for the necessary changes to see that communities worst affected by guns, alcohol, drugs, and gangs received the policing service delivery everyone in South Africa deserved.
Plato repeated calls for, among others, increased police resources in the province to ensure all stations were sufficiently staffed, equipped, and in service of their community, and for the reintroduction and capacitating of specialised units promised by President Jacob Zuma in February 2016 to target the problems of gangs, guns, and drugs.
"The impact of violent crimes, however, is not only confined to certain communities, known gang hotspots or where the drug trade is rife. As we have seen recently again in Klapmuts, firearms in the hands of those with criminal and evil intent rips loved ones from our lives, scars families and threatens entire communities’ way of life," he said.
The Western Cape was experiencing a 10-year high in the number of murders committed. The crime statistics showed that, on average, every day the police recorded nine murders, nine attempted murders, 66 assaults with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, 109 assaults, and 65 robberies with aggravated circumstances.
"The violence in our communities across the province cannot continue unabated. We need to take a critical look at crime prevention initiatives and interventions instituted by the police, where they are falling short and how best we, society as a whole, can help address these shortages.
"As a government, we remain determined, through our whole of society approach, to see improved strategic partnerships and targeted interventions bringing about safer environments. Ultimately the public need to experience this difference in their daily lives.
"I urge communities, including our farming communities, to remain vigilant in their approach to safety – keeping their families, those residing on their property, their workers and their property as safe as possible.
"I thank all those farming communities – farm owners, employers and employees, who are taking hands with the police, safety structures, such as neighbourhood watches and farm watches, who are all forming part of the much needed united front against crime," Plato said.
African News Agency