I read this debate on behalf of our member on this portfolio committee, the Hon Mncwango.
These budget votes come at a time when the SAPS/IPID relationship is at an all-time low. How does one effectively fight the already rampant crime on our streets whilst one is focused on a departmental stand off against one another? The Minister must intervene in this impasse and urgently resolve the situation so that both departments can return to focussing on their respective mandates to the people of South Africa.
Gender-based violence and violence against children remains an extremely serious concern and it seems as if we as a society are losing this fight to protect our women and children. In Gauteng alone there have been 5 murder/rapes in and around Soweto over the last 5 days. Last week 11 men appeared in court in connection with gang-raping a 22 year old pregnant woman.
With 14333 murders recorded in the last trimester, just 10 down from the previous trimester it is clear to see that the SAPS are falling short in their mandate to protect the people of South Africa. In the Western Cape there was an increase in the murder rate of 0.7%, Kwa Zulu Natal 1.7%, Gauteng 3.7% and Mpumalanga a tragic 6.8%. No one will dispute that this situation remains out of control.
Gang violence, particularly in the Western Cape remains a concern as well as the on-going turf wars between the various “bouncer” groups that use our cities night clubs as platforms to ply their nefarious trades. There have already been incidents, one not that long ago at a Camps Bay nightclub, in which an innocent patron was shot and wounded and there are fears that the violence will escalate. I trust that SAPS crime intelligence is already hard at work on this matter, as these night clubs are often frequented by our young adults, our sons and daughters. Another aspect, is the question of police complicity in this violence? Is this possibility being investigated by IPID?
A holistic approach towards crime fighting is needed, and it begins from a police recruitment perspective, with the correct screening and psychological profiling of the incumbent cadet. Then there is the police training, how many times have we heard reports or seen clips of police officers who are untrained, cannot handle a firearm with any kind of proficiency, are a danger not only to themselves but to other police officers as well. Then there is the logistics side. An effective and fully functional police force requires working vehicles, radios, effective bullet proof vests etc.
Then we must talk about leadership, as ineffective leadership is one of the root causes of poor performance in the SAPS. This not only makes it near impossible for the SAPS to function but also destroys the morale of those police officers on the ground and in our charge offices around the country.
Hon Minister, you have inherited a department whose mandate is critical to the success story that we are all trying to build here in South Africa. This Department is floundering at the moment, it is distracted by sideshows and a leadership at odds with itself. It sorely requires strong and committed leadership and a back to basics approach.
The IFP wishes you well in your new portfolio.
I thank you.
Hon Narend Singh, MP