Western Cape Premier Helen Zille Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has given Police Minister Bheki Cele 30 days to respond to several demands, most notably the deployment of more police officers to the province to quell crime.

Zille presented the provincial government’s crime interventions over past years at a media briefing on Wednesday.

She said the provincial cabinet sent urgent demands to Cele on the crisis of police under-resourcing in the Western Cape, where the police to population ratio is on average one-third lower than in the rest of the country.

“The greatest crisis is experienced at stations in precincts with the highest crime rates. As a provincial government, we have supported the SAPS through successful community partnerships in crime prevention.”

The provincial government promotes a whole-of-society approach to community safety, Zille said.

“A total of 231 neighbourhood watch structures with a vetted membership of 16400 members will have been accredited in the current financial year. This ensures resources and support to communities. The project has gained the full support of the SAPS.

“The department further supports the work of Community Policing Forums (CPFs) through the Expanded Partnership Programme to produce oversight information that is helpful to the SAPS. R3.2million is allocated to support CPFs via the payment for performance model in 2018/19.”

Asked if a merger between the city’s metro police and the national police service would quell crime, Zille said: “No, I don’t think that will work. If it wasn’t for the metro police, we would be in a much worse position. The city’s law enforcers have arrested more than 12000 people in the last year - 17% more than in 2016.”

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said the latest crime stats confirmed the Western Cape had 36% of all drug-related crime in the country. “We also have 12 of the top 30 stations in the country for attempted murder, with eight of these also appearing in the top 30 stations for murder. The country’s highest increase in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition (16.8%) was recorded in the Western Cape.

“Violent protests and land invasions are sharply increasing. Year-on-year there was a 53% increase in the number of invasions recorded and a 249% increase in protests.”

Cele’s spokesperson Reneilwe Sereo said many of Zille’s requests had been addressed. “We’re not sending in the army. We’ve deployed more than 300 officers to the Western Cape. Under-resourcing is being handled on a national level.”