File Image: IOL

CAPE TOWN - Provincial MEC for Community Safety Alan Winde on Wednesday said the Western Cape Government has made R5 million available in its budget to fund the deployment of additional reservists.

This comes after a report compiled by the Provincial Police Ombudsman detailed the significant decline in the deployment of police in the province.

"I call on the national Police Minister Bheki Cele to urgently address this matter. Reservists are a critical force multiplier and can play a vital role in stemming the tide of crime in our vulnerable communities. There is a particular need for more policing now as we move toward the festive season and expect the traditional spike in crime," Winde said.

However, according to Winde, despite the repeated requests he is yet to receive a response from the national government on the take-up of the funding. Winde said there is "no reason why national should not take up this offer of funding" and not doing so would be a crime against the people of the Western Cape who have been left exposed to crime due to the lack of policing in the province.

"The R5 million we have set aside would put 195 extra police reservists on duty every day during the peak festive season (mid-December to mid-January). Police reservists have the same powers, functions and duties as police, they patrol in the same uniform and are armed under the same conditions as ordinary SAPS members," Winde said 

"They would still be expected to work the compulsory 16 hours as volunteers, after which time they will be remunerated for additional work done."

Winde said these reservists will be capable of performing administrative duties at police stations which will free up South African Police Service (Saps) officer to do "visible policing work".

"Minister Cele, you are the only stumbling block toward safer communities this festive season. Give our funding the go-ahead so these reservists can get to work," said Winde.

African News Agency (ANA)