Madame Speaker, the motion by the National Freedom Party is one of relevance and one that impacts the lives of our people across our province. It is true that the ever-increasing crime rate is having a negative impact on all aspects of community life. Whilst criminal activity is stifling the day-to-day activities of households and communities, it is also having a hugely negative impact on the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. Increasing unemployment and the downturn in the economy is causing desperate people to engage in criminal activity in order to feed themselves and their families. The Inkatha Freedom Party does not condone any form of criminal activity for whatever reason and therefore urges government to find lasting solutions to the scourge of crime.
Madame Speaker, the Inkatha Freedom Party has always been driven by pragmatism and has always sought to find meaningful solutions without shying away from harsh challenges. The issue of crime is a serious challenge for our province and it needs the urgent attention of all role players in order to bring about peace within our communities. For this reason it is important to ensure that the citizens of South Africa accept the validity of the crime statistics and therefore the stats must be independently audited. The IFP urges the MEC and the Provincial police commissioner to commission such an audit, using an independent auditing firm, lest they release inaccurate statistics for we believe that the stats only provide information about reported crime and thus does not give an accurate picture of what is happening in our province.
The IFP agrees that we need to examine how things are being done in this province and why is it that we are not winning the war against crime and why is it that our police officers are being killed at the alarming rate that it is happening. We need to ask ourselves why is it that there is such disrespect and such disregard for the law. We need to ask ourselves why is it that those with criminal intent go about committing crime without fear of the consequences if they are caught. These are considerations that must occupy our minds if we are to find solutions.
Madame Speaker, the IFP believes that cadre deployment has brought SAPS to its knees after the recent spate of police killings in KwaZulu-Natal. Lack of confidence and trust by the general public in the SAPS and its leadership is at an all-time high!. The perception, if not the reality that prevails within the general community is that of a total lack of trust and confidence in the SAPS at this time. The leadership is seemingly sadly lacking. The morale within the police force is at an all-time low with no initiatives in place to rectify the situation.
The IFP believes that it is important to have a person at the helm of the police service with the necessary leadership and managerial skills. It is a plus if you are coming from a law enforcement background having served in the field. There are many issues that are in the public domain that begs one to question the very existence of any leadership in the SAPS in KZN especially when it comes to Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mamunye Ngobeni. This is a commissioner who lacks experience, lacks vision and lacks initiative. With such a lack-lustre head of policing in our province, it is not surprising that we are not winning the war against crime.
The SAPS is being run, seemingly, on auto pilot. Change is needed, and it is needed now!. South Africa deserves an accountable government that prioritises the needs of its people, not its own pockets. The IFP believes that if the ruling party was serious about curbing corruption, nepotism and maladministration, it would completely discard cadre deployment and commit to appointing or electing people based on their capabilities, not political loyalty. Police managers need to be assessed against clear standards to determine whether they have the expertise, skills, experience and integrity required for the posts they hold.
Increases in serious violent crime such as murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery are of particular concern to us all. The police need to focus on tackling aggravated robberies as they create fear and feelings of insecurity because they involve direct attacks by armed criminals on unarmed citizens on the streets, in homes, at places of worship and at places of work.
We all concur that the government must tackle the socio-economic problems, build critical partnerships, deal with service delivery issues, reach an agreement with the violence ridden taxi industry, create easily accessible roads in informal housing settlements and integrate government’s approach to dealing with firearms. Our citizens are terrified of break-ins and home robberies. Murder and attempted murder are dominant features in contact crimes. Furthermore, gangs remain intact and in business. Therefore, contact crime will remain stubborn and people will continue to suffer the consequences of crime.
The task of building safer communities is more urgent now than ever before. As crime peaks during weekends and holidays, when individuals abuse alcohol and drugs, the police and communities must do more to bring the situation under control. The IFP is adamant: Fix the townships and crime will start to fix itself.
As long as those holding political office appear to act with impunity, or blatantly use the criminal justice system to dodge very serious allegations of the abuse of power and state resources, we cannot reasonably expect South African citizens to respect the law. Just as there is no single cause of violence and crime, there is no single solution.
The IFP would like to express its concern over safety on farms and the increasing occurrence of livestock theft and poaching of wildlife. The situation has become so dangerous that farmers must hire private security companies at high cost. It therefore seems that farms can be secured by private-sector intervention but that government unfortunately is not in a position to do it.
Madame Speaker, in order to prevent crime from occurring, it is important that police investigations and the criminal justice system are free of corruption and manipulation. The law must be seen to be applied without fear or favour not matter who is involved. All too often we find that criminals get away because evidence goes missing or witnesses are intimidated. This government must ensure that people employed in the criminal justice system are beyond reproach and are trustworthy. We need to instil public confidence in the justice system if we are to be successful in enlisting community support in reporting criminal activity. There is no point in asking for people to be the eyes and ears of the police if they do not have confidence and respect for the police.
I thank you,
Contact: Mr Nhlanhla Msimango MPL, 074 259 0820