The employment of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to the worst-affected crime areas in the Western Cape for a period of no less than three months has been authorised.
Delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament on Thursday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said there has been a high number of brutal murders in the province, most specifically in the metropole, over a number of years.
"During the 2018/2019 financial year, murders in the Western Cape increased by 6.3% from 3 729 to 3 963 (234 counts). The top 10 contributing murder stations in the province are Nyanga, Delft, Khayelitsha, Philippi East, Harare, Gugulethu, Mfuleni, Kraaifontein, Mitchells Plain and Bishop Lavis.
"Combined, the 10 stations contributed to 47% of murders in the province," Cele said.
Philippi East has featured as the top contributing station for murder from 1 to 7 July 2019, increasing from 1 to 13. In one incident on 5 July 2019, six females were fatally wounded in Marcus Garvey. On 6 July 2019, a further two shootings occurred, where five victims were fatally wounded and one injured.
In an effort to address this challenge, the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Police requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to authorise the employment of the SANDF and SAPS in the prevention and combatting of crime and the maintenance and preservation of law and order.
"The President has since given the approval of the employment of the SANDF as requested by both Ministers. In the near future, the JCPS cluster Ministers will announce the roll out of the high level action plan. In this regard, we vouch that the Western Cape will never be same," said Cele.
Section 201(2) (a) of the Constitution provides that only the President, as Head of the National Executive, may authorise the employment of the Defence Force in cooperation with the Police Service.
The deployment of the Defence Force members, jointly with SAPS, will focus on troops for cordoning and searching, strong points in hot spots, observation, foot and vehicle patrols.
They will also provide air support for trooping and identify substance manufacturing labs as well as any other operations that may be determined from time to time.
Reprioritisation of resources
Cele said in creating the ideal South Africa, the policing approach will be vigorously enhanced and improved to correctly respond to a new set of targets.
He said there would be a complete overhaul and reprioritisation of resources and budgets will be channelled accordingly to address the improved policing approach and revised strategies.
All top 30 crime stations and drug-infested communities will be prioritised with improved resources and extensive deployment.
"The Tactical Response Unit and National Intervention Unit members will be deployed in full, in all top 30 crime stations these members will not be kept in doors for no reason when our communities are under siege.
"As an immediate response, Base Camps will be established at crime hotspots in all top 30 stations. Additional resources will be deployed strategically to support operations," he said.
Also, Gauteng's Operation Buya Mthetho / O kae molao will be elevated to national level.
Therefore all Provincial Commissioners will be directed to formulate crime busting strategies in line with Operation Buya Mthetho every week at crime hotspots areas.
In responding directly to the scourge of gangsterism, the Anti-Gang Unit will be elevated to a national unit under Operational Response Services (ORS), and other specialised unit will be introduced.
This unit will extend its mandate and join other specialised units to deal with other crimes of fear that are terrorising communities, said the Minister. These include murder, rape, car -hijackings, house robberies, house burglaries and Cash in Transit heists.
Training of SAPS members
A detective academy is to be established to strengthen the capacity and training of new detectives and specialised investigators.
"Cooperation between prosecutors and investigators through prosecutorial guided investigation will be intensified to improve the success rate of all priority cases.
"Moreover, we will be engaging within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster for the establishment of dedicated, specialised courts to promote the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system," the Minister said.
Training will be intensified within the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
SAPS training colleges have registered a total of 5000 students in this financial year. The students are currently going through the Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP).
"We envisage to increase the numbers in the next two intakes to 7000 per annum. We will intensify cooperation with Metro Police, Road Traffic [Management] to further increase visibility in our villages, towns, cities and importantly on our roads, through a coordinated system developed by National and Provincial JCPS clusters," he said.
The SAPS' further plans to launch an automated online e-recruitment process, as part of a government-wide process to make it simpler and easier for people, especially the youth, to apply for job opportunities within the service.
"Increasing the visibility of SAPS personnel members, particularly at a station level, is a priority and includes the focused patrolling of cities, villages and towns informed by identified crime tendencies and patterns and the appropriate use of technical response teams," the Minister said.
He said police will be undertaking a number of operations as part of enhancing police visibility.
These include a blue lights campaign; more marked vehicles and highway patrols starting from Thursday afternoons to Monday mornings.
In addition, senior management will spend more time engaging communities; drug addicts will be removed from the streets and Police Station Commissioners will be encouraged to embark on a school campaign within their areas of jurisdictions.
The Minister called on communities to participate in the fight against crime.
"The extent of the brutality in most contact crimes such are murder and rape, the abuse of drugs and alcohol and gangsterism indicates the extent of social decay that needs a collective approach ...
"The cluster is currently implementing the Community Policing Strategy and Communities in Blue Policing Concept, which is aimed at reaffirming the government's commitment to building safer communities through community policing partnerships; and to further operationalise the concept of community policing with a view of stimulating active citizenry and citizen participation in the fight against crime," the Minister said.