The DA is the only party reducing the murder rate in South Africa

Issued by Alan Winde – DA Western Cape Premier Candidate
22 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

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On Saturday, I was in Mitchells Plain to meet with residents and heard directly from them about some of their concerns, particularly with regards to safety. With more than 305 000 residents, Mitchells Plain is one of the communities in our province that suffers most from gangsterism and crime. Devastatingly it is not just Mitchells Plain that suffers, on Friday a Grade 11 learner was shot in Canal Road, Belgravia.

In recent weeks there has been a flare up of violence in Mitchells Plain as gang wars plague this community, most concerningly near schools, places of worship and shops, resulting in the loss of life as innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire.

Much has also been made in the media lately about a proposed Bulletproof Park project which was proposed by Gun Free SA to provide a safe and secure play area for children amid the ongoing threat of gunfire. Of course we welcome initiatives aimed at making our communities safer. But the fact that we have to go to such lengths to protect our children from gangsterism devastates me. Because, quite frankly our focus must be on making entire communities, this province and South Africa safe enough for our children to play in without fear and for our loved ones to be able to walk around and be active members of their communities.

The fear that permeates our everyday lives is unacceptable.

Which is why, even though policing is run by national government, the DA-led Western Cape Government is doing all it can to create safer communities for all in the Western Cape and get more powers in our hands to make you safer.

And our pledge to residents of the Western Cape ahead of the 2024 election is to fight crime with our 1 300 law enforcement officers, Rural Safety units and K9 units.

Despite ongoing requests for more boots on the ground, we still do not have enough South African Police Services (SAPS) officers to keep our people safe in the Western Cape.

We have more than 10 000 fewer SAPS members operating in our province than we need, and 77% of our SAPS precincts are understaffed.

The national average is one SAPS officer to 430 residents, but for the Mitchells Plain police station, one officer must keep more than 600 people safe. In places like Samora Machel, Gugulethu, or Cloetesville, the police-to-population ratio can be as high as one officer to every 800 or 1 200 people.

It is our duty as government to create safer communities. That is why, after I took office in 2019, we introduced the Western Cape Safety Plan.

This plan is a data-centred and evidence-based approach to addressing crime that informs policing strategies and ensures that the limited resources available from National Government are better utilised.

And, I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made over the last five years to build safer communities in the Western Cape.

While still devastatingly and unacceptable high, the Western Cape is the only province where murder has declined, due largely to the work of 1 300 Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, and the province’s Rural Safety and K9 units.

The LEAP programme, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, started in 2020 with 500 law enforcement officers deployed to four priority areas. It has since been expanded to 13 priority areas, with 1 300 LEAP officers deployed. New technologies such as gunshot detection and ‘Eye-in-the-sky’ (aerial crime detection) have been introduced to bolster the effectiveness of LEAP operations.

So far, LEAP officers have made over 28 000 arrests and taken more than 554 illegal firearms off the streets. The rate of crime has also dropped significantly in our LEAP areas.

An independent study conducted last year right here in Mitchells Plain found that LEAP’s intervention led to a 20% reduction in contact crime.

In places like Delft and Atlantis, we have seen a continuous reduction in the murder rate.

More than that, we have clear evidence that people are increasingly putting their all-important trust in our LEAP Officers to apprehend criminals and reduce violence.

In addition to LEAP, our Rural Safety and K-9 Units are on patrol in the Swartland, Overstrand, and Mossel Bay regions of our province. Between the 8th and the 14th of this month, these units stopped multiple shipments of drugs, weapons, and poached abalone from being smuggled across the Western Cape.

To prevent crime before it occurs, the Western Cape Government has implemented the Violence Prevention Unit (VPU), which seeks to address the root causes of crime. It involves role players from across government and civil society targeting specific areas that require an array of societal interventions. Based on the Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention, the data from provincial healthcare facilities is also used to further capacitate crime-fighting and prevention programmes.

We believe that this investment in additional personnel and ‘force multipliers’ will pay off.

Safety cannot be achieved in isolation. Creating jobs has become as critical as fighting crime. A safe community is a prosperous one.

Only the DA in the Western Cape has the track record and the vision to govern effectively.

There is still much work to be done and that is why the DA has a plan to fight crime with our 1 300 law enforcement officers, Rural Safety units and K9 units.

The Western Cape Works.

Vote to Keep the Western Cape DA.