South Africa: MEC Albert Fritz On Western Capes Commitment to Fighting Violence and Crime

press release

Western Cape is committed in fight against violence and crime in the province

The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, emphasized the province's commitment to fighting violence and crime, following the release of the Quarterly Crime Statistics presented by Minister Bheki Cele on Friday, 14 May 2021. The Report covered the period over January, February and March 2021.

Minister Fritz said, "in sum, the Report is unequivocal: crime continues, unabated. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to change this trajectory, so that the Western Cape becomes a safer place for all our residents"

According to the report, between 2019/20 and 2020/21 murder reduced 6.93% from 21,325 to 19,846 nationally, and by 3.94% from 3,975 to 3,818 in the Western Cape.

In Quarter 4 (January to March 2021), murder increased in South Africa by 8.4%, compared with a 2.7% increase in the Western Cape.

There was a significant decrease in murder in April to June 2020 (Q1) and January to March 2021 (Q4). These are both periods when the Covid-19 lockdown was most restrictive, and probably account for the smaller increase in murder both nationally and in the Western Cape.

The Report further shows that Khayelitsha (4th), Mfuleni (5th), Kraaifontein (6th), Delft (7th), Nyanga (8th) and Gugulethu (10th) remain amongst the Top Ten Murder Stations for the entire country.

Similarly Harare (5th) with a total of 53, and Delft (6th) with a total of 52 also occupy the list of the Top Ten Stations for rape in the country.

For robbery with aggravating circumstance, Nyanga with a total of 335, and Khayelitsha with a total of 262, show persistently high numbers.

Minister Fritz said, "the figures are deeply troubling. A case in point is the 335 robberies with aggravating circumstances in a community like Nyanga. Surely it is not possible for the people of Nyanga to live a normal life in such circumstances where there is on average 11 robberies with aggravating circumstances every single day".

The release of the Report comes at the same time as reports of budgetary cuts in the criminal justice system, including the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Service.

Minister Fritz continued: "it boggles the mind that the National Government sees fit to reduce the budgets of SAPS and the NPA when figures show that crime is on the increase. We need more resources dedicated to fighting crime, not less. Yes, these are difficult economic times. But surely we need to relook at our priorities. And fighting crime should be on top of the list of priorities."

During the Press Conference, Minister Cele referenced the good working relationship between the different spheres of government in the Western Cape.

Minister Fritz added, "I agree with Minister Cele: we have managed to work well together in certain respects. As the Western Cape Government, we are very happy with the bridges that have been built. We hope to build more bridges with SAPS, both provincially and nationally; ultimately towards building safer communities for the citizens of the Western Cape. We are determined to change these trends. We are determined to see a safe Nyanga; a safe Delft; a safe Cape Flats; a safe Western Cape."

The Western Cape's Safety Plan will gain momentum this year, seeing more evidence-based deployments to some of the worst affected communities.

Minister Fritz: "We will see 250 more LEAP officers deployed on 1 July 2021, and a further 250 deployed on 1 October 2021. This will bring the total number of LEAP Officers deployed to 1000. The Area-Based Teams are also presently being set up, and these ABTs will have the support of 1000 Youth Safety Ambassadors who have already been deployed and who will work on Violence Prevention initiatives."

Minister Fritz: "We remain deeply concerned with the relatively low decreases in murder and violence in the Province, and I am resolute in ensuring that the work we are putting into implementing our Provincial Safety Plan, together with SAPS and the City of Cape Town, will ensure that we defeat the scourge of murder and violence in the long term, especially in those areas where the highest number of murders take place.

Minister Fritz concluded: "While I am disturbed by the seemingly persistent nature of these crimes, I am also confident that, through the work of our Provincial Safety Plan, we are laying the basis for a significant change in the future. We are 100% committed to this fight, and we plan to win it."

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