WC law enforcement to remain funded, R25 million allocated for the establishment of LEAP Centres in 2024 financial year

Issued by Gillion Bosman, MPP – DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety
15 Mar 2024 in Press Statements

Attention editors: Please see English audio by MPP Gillion Bosman attached.

In its budget tabled in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and Police Oversight outlined its financial allocations toward a new year of making communities safer, even as the provincial fiscus becomes ever-more constrained. R25 million will be allocated to the establishment of new LEAP centres in the Western Cape’s most-troubled communities, while critical law enforcement projects will remain funded into the new financial year.

The allocation for the new LEAP Centres will bring the cumulative budget for LEAP and LEAP-adjacent initiatives to just over R1 billion over the next three years, representing a substantial investment in public safety even as the Western Cape Government remains shortchanged by national government’s funding allocations. In addition to the funding for LEAP, R11.3 million will be transferred to local municipalities for the creation and maintenance of K9 Units, while R11.3 million will be similarly transferred for the creation and maintenance of Rural Safety Units.

These resources will go a long way toward shoring up a chronically under-resourced SAPS, whose numbers continue to dwindle. Parliamentary questions submitted last year revealed that 77% of SAPS stations are understaffed, while last year’s Policing Needs and Priorities Report – also a mandate of the Department – attributed the fact that 62% of serious crime in the Western Cape goes unsolved to the massively-low number of detectives in the province, leading to a collapse in investigative capacity.

This comes at a time in which additional police resources are desperately needed in the Western Cape, with a large-scale gang war continuing to intensify on the Cape Flats. The collapse of SAPS’ crime intelligence and evidence-gathering capabilities means that gangsters continue to operate with impunity. LEAP has been deployed to many of these areas, but as a provincial competency rather than a fully-fledged police force, the initiative lacks the resources to end crime for good.

Nevertheless, LEAP has brought murder down by up to 50% in the areas to which it has been deployed, and the City of Cape Town remains the only metropolitan area in South Africa which continues to fall down the ranks of the world’s most violent cities. It has confiscated more than 500 illegal firearms since its inception, and in the past 24 hours, two confiscations and two arrests have involved LEAP. The DA-led Western Cape’s policing strategy is working – but it needs more resources to excel.

DA Western Cape spokesperson on Community Safety Gillion Bosman says: “While I am pleased to see LEAP and other provincial crimefighting initiatives enjoy continued funding, it is immensely frustrating to see these workable strategies confined to the scale of provincial projects. We know that initiatives like LEAP work, and we know that SAPS is no longer capable of fighting violent crime in our communities – so why will national government not give this government the resources and powers it needs to end crime for good?”