South Africa: Western Cape Govt Mulling Court Action Over Control of SAPS in Province

The Western Cape government is considering court action against Police Minister Bheki Cele in its battle to get extra police officers for the province.

"We will meet the minister in court if not beforehand," said Premier Alan Winde in his State of the Province Address on Thursday.

He said the inter-governmental dispute over apparent inadequate police numbers was escalating, with letters from the province apparently not being replied to.

The national government's decision to send troops to support the police was just a "band-aid" and showed that the "police have lost the war on crime in the Western Cape", Winde said.

"The time for talk is over, we are taking charge."

Through visits to 151 police stations, the legislature's officials had established that each detective was dealing with at least 200 cases, when the ideal was around 60. It was estimated that there are 534 fewer detectives than needed, he said.

The province was in the process of setting up committees to address the criminal and social aspects of crime, but in the meantime, was consulting the Constitution to see whether it was possible for the Western Cape legislature to take control of the South African Police Service in the province.

In the meantime, police officers were doing the best they can, and many were going out of their way and above the call of duty to serve the province, Winde said.

Army battalions, currently in barracks in Cape Town, have not yet been served deployment papers to go into 10 identified gang-ridden neighbourhoods yet, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi told News24 on Wednesday night.

This after Cele announced last Thursday during his budget vote speech that the army would descend upon areas in the Cape Flats "within 12 hours" of his speech.

The troops will only be deployed once the paperwork is in order.

Source: News24

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