Is Cele’s ego more important than crime victims?

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court.

SAPS has launched a probe into 160 fake social media accounts impersonating Police Minister Bheki Cele, while other fraud investigations against businesses and the public are placed on hold.

Since the lockdown started, real cyber crimes that affect the public have exponentially increased, exposing individuals and businesses that are already under economic strain to online fraud and other crimes.

In response to a 2019 parliamentary question, the Hawks Cyber Crime Unit, now investigating Cele’s fake profiles, had 937 cases referred to it with a total fraud value of R7.9 billion, while only 178 of these cases could be successfully prosecuted with a total fraud value of only R23 million.

Despite very capable police officers within the unit, it is grossly under-funded, under-resourced, lacking sufficient cyber forensic capacity and struggles to fulfil its obligations while retaining well-trained investigators within its ranks.

Furthermore, with the Cyber Crimes Bill not yet passed by Parliament, it is hard to see how these crimes would be prosecuted for spreading false news where a prior qualification is made that such an account is a parody account.

The only reason why fake accounts of a fake Cele making ludicrous statements would be believable is because the Minister himself has been no stranger to making ludicrous statements in the past, not least during the lockdown.

If Cele is serious about fighting cyber crimes, he should start by properly capacitating the unit charged with investigating it, so that they can do their jobs in the interest of the public, before focusing on the Minister’s own vanity projects.

I will continue to demand of the Department and the Minister, as I have been doing for the past 5 years, to adequately fund and capacitate this unit so that ordinary South Africans falling victim to real cyber crimes can have the same justice that Cele claims for himself.

Help us build a Police Service that can keep all South Africans safe

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the Dobsonville Police Station in Soweto, Gauteng. Maimane was joined by DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga, and Team One SA Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen

Fellow South Africans,

We live in a country of insiders and outsiders – of those with access to opportunities and wealth, and those who find themselves locked out of the economy by bad policy and poor leadership.

We see the outsiders all around us – millions of people without jobs, millions of people surviving on tiny social grants, millions of people who struggle to make a life below the poverty line. They have been let down and forgotten by a government that became distracted by greed and lost all touch with the people.

You can see this greed in the stories that are reported in the news – scandals like Bosasa, the Guptas, VBS and Nkandla. But it is often the less obvious “legalised” theft of public money through outrageous perks and privileges that really show how out of touch they are.

Take safety and our protection by the South African Police Service. This year the total police budget is almost R100 billion, which has to cover the protection of around 58 million people in our country. But not every South African is considered equal by this ANC government. Not even close.

Nearly R3 billion of this SAPS budget is spent on fewer than 300 so-called VIPs, which works out to more than R10 million per person per year. Compare this with the amount spent on ordinary South Africans, which is just over R1600 per person per year, and you get a sense of the gap that exists between the political elite and the people they are meant to serve.

Nowhere is this gap more obvious than in the under-resourcing of SAPS stations in poor areas with high crime rates. This police station here in Dobsonville has a police-to-population ratio of 1:1121. This means there are well over a thousand residents for every police officer. Our Police Minister, Bheki Cele, admits that we should be striving for the UN’s recommended ratio of 1:220, but our national average is closer to twice this number.

But it is in the poorer areas of South Africa where the ANC government has truly failed to protect the people. There are many police stations where this police to population ratio has grown to four or five times the UN recommendation. Dobsonville is not alone. Parts of Diepsloot, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville are also severely under-resourced, as are many communities in Cape Town, such as Nyanga, Delft and Khayelitsha.

These areas grow and grow as people move to the city in search of opportunities, but the policing resources don’t grow along with them. That is why you have the situation here, and in many other places just like this, where people simply don’t believe that the police are able to help them and keep them safe.

Minister Cele says we are short around 62 000 police officers. But at the same time the ANC government spends R10 million per person per year of SAPS budget on VIP protection. Surely a caring government would look at this situation and say “No, this is wrong. Let us spend this money where it is needed.” But we don’t have a caring government. We have the ANC.

If you see convoys of black BMWs and Mercedes Benzes speeding through traffic with blue lights flashing, that is your government telling you that they will not be held to the same standard and the same budget as the rest of us. They did not join the ANC to live like ordinary South Africans. They joined the ANC to be treated like VIPs with money that was meant for the people.

Where the DA governs we have banned the use of blue light convoys for all our own public representatives, but we can’t control what the ANC government does. When you see one of these convoys speeding through a DA-run metro or province, it is always an ANC Minister rushing to the airport or to get home, or simply to go and get take-aways.

This has to end, fellow South Africans. We can’t allow this government to carry on living it up at the expense of ordinary South Africans who are under siege from criminals every single day.

Where the DA governs we have taken steps to correct this balance. I have given a directive to all DA governments to pro-actively seek ways in which to reduce all excess and reverse the VIP expenditure we inherited from the ANC.

We also adopted a Mayoral Handbook at our last Federal Council meeting in February which outlines the rules on finances and travel for DA public representatives, including car allowances. This is similar to the existing Western Cape handbook, which is a huge departure from the Ministerial handbook used by ANC Ministers to justify their flashy cars, first-class travel and protection services. When we take over as national government, ours will become the new Ministerial Handbook, and we will also slash the bloated cabinet to just 15 ministries.

Elected officials are servants of the public. And while the ANC might disagree and treat them like royalty at the cost of the taxpayer, you will find that all DA governments honour this principle.

But we need to take it even further. We need to do what Mayor Msimanga did in Tshwane when the DA took over there in 2016 and he discovered that the ANC had ordered 10 new BMWs, thinking that they were going to stay in office after the elections. Mayor Msimanga immediately gave those BMWs to the anti-hijacking unit of the Tshwane Metro Police. Our politicians don’t need the fast cars, but our police officers certainly do.

We need to put the needs of the people before the greed of the elite.

South Africa deserves a government that is prepared to do the hard work in turning SAPS into an honest, professional crime-fighting institution. This means recruiting only the best and most passionate candidates. It means training our detectives and specialist officers. It means building effective partnerships with communities. It means recognising the scourge of gender-based violence and putting resources towards tackling this issue.

South Africa deserves a government with a plan to reduce crime – a plan which acknowledges that policing decisions should be made at provincial and local level if they are to address issues unique to the region. A plan that calls for a Provincial Police Service that can work closely with Metro Police units, as is the case throughout the world.

South Africa deserves a government that gets things done, and doesn’t just talk about what it would one day like to do. While the ANC were talking about keeping communities safe, Mayor Mashaba went out and recruited an additional 1500 officers to the JMPD.

There is only one party that can be this government. There is only one party with both a proven track record where it governs, and a bold plan to keep South Africans safe in their homes and on their streets, and that party is the DA.

Fellow South Africans, we have no time to waste. Every day in South Africa, an average of 56 people are murdered. Every day 109 people report that they have been raped. Cash-in-transit heists now stand at almost one a day. Our nation is under constant attack from criminals, but the ANC government wouldn’t know it, because they are sitting pretty with their guards and their blue lights and their Bosasa-upgraded security systems.

That’s what you need to remember when you cast your vote next month. Do you want to vote for the safety of your own family, or do you want to vote for the VIP protection of some politician who doesn’t even know you exist?

I know what my answer is. So join me on 8 May as we vote to take back our streets and our neighbourhoods.

Join me as we build one safe, prosperous South Africa for all.

DA requests meeting with Minister Cele for update on SAPS State Capture investigations

The Democratic Alliance has written to the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to request an urgent meeting to discuss the progress of investigations into charges the DA has laid related to State Capture. South Africans deserve an update and transparency from the police on these investigations and the developments therein.

The DA has been integral in countering the scourge of State Capture that has become endemic in the failing ANC government. This has been achieved through strong parliamentary oversight, the laying of criminal charges, strict reporting to the Public Protector and the driving of the creation of the Eskom Inquiry.

To date, the DA has laid these charges against the following relevant personnel and entities:

  • On the 17-Nov-16: Brian Molefe, in terms of the following acts, with regards to the Public Protector State Capture Report and Molefe’s abuse of powers in dealing with Gupta-owned entities
  • On the 28-Nov-16: Eskom and Trillian, CAS 70/11/2016. The DA’s affidavit concerns possible criminal and/or statutory offences committed
  • On the 27-Mar-17: Mantshela Koko, former CEO of Eskom, and his alleged acts of maleficence, CAS 2067/5/2017.
  • On the 20-Jul-17: Anoj Singh, former CFO of Eskom for his alleged part in state capture, CAS 1685/7/2017.
  • On the 19-Sep-17: McKinsey & Trillian for their alleged role in state capture CAS 1156/9/2017.
  • On the 29-Sep-17: SAP for implications of corruption, CAS 1800/9/2017.
  • On the 30-Sep-17: Just Coal and its alleged involvement in corruption, CAS 1803/9/2017.
  • On the 8-Mar-18: Bank of Baroda for their alleged involvement in illicit funds linked to the Guptas, CAS 454/3/2018.
  • On the 17-Apr-18: Denel for a Bursary of R1 million paid to the son of the North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo.
  • We have also laid charges against Transnet and Mr. Gama, former CEO of Transnet.

The police have a responsibility to investigate the charges against those who have been implicated in the looting of our state.

On Tuesday, 27 November 2018, my colleague, DA Shadow Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele, and myself, will be visiting the Cape Town Central Police Station, in order to provide SAPS with additional information for the affidavits the DA has submitted thus far.

We will be supplementing our existing cases with the evidence provided by the following chapters in the explosive Treasury Report:

  • Chapter I: Final Report: Forensic Investigation into Various Allegations at Transnet
  • Chapter II: Mckinsey, Trillian and Regiments
  • Chapter III: Report relating to Eskom investigations

The DA will continue to fight for every rand that was stolen, so that every missing cent be returned to South Africa and so that those implicated in state capture are brought to book. South Africans want to see corrupted politicians, officials and corporates face the consequences of their actions and be put behind bars.

DA agrees with Westbury residents: enough is enough

Police Minister Bheki Cele has once again failed to speak to the plight of yet another community hamstrung by violent crime.

Today, the Minister visited the crime-ridden community of Westbury in Johannesburg where residents have been protesting against violent crime.

The Minister promised that a task team will be deployed to patrol the streets and that an investigation into allegations of police involvement in criminal activities would be launched.

These promises are all well and good but mean nothing to the community of Westbury if they are not actioned with immediate effect. The Democratic Alliance will hold Minister Cele accountable for these promises. This cannot be another one of the failing ANC’s broken promises. By not acting the Minister will join the long queue of failing ANC politicians politicking with the lives of the people.

The failing ANC government has time and again proven that they are a government of empty promises and are incapable of fighting crime. They simply do not have a plan.

Unlike the failing ANC government, the DA is not a party of empty promises. Where we govern we go above and beyond to keep our communities safe despite our limited mandate. Due to under-resourced police services, the City of Johannesburg has recruited an extra 1500 JMPD officers to boost law enforcement. The City has also introduced a K9 narcotics unit tasked with tracking down on drug trafficking in the City.

A DA national government would:

  • Send the army into volatile, crime-ridden communities to establish order.
  • Introduce specialised units.
  • Work to make the police focused on serving and protecting with passion.

Since the outbreak of the protests in Westbury, the DA has been in ongoing consultations with residents regarding their concerns and will meet with community leaders in due course.

Myself, together with members of the DA’s Team One South Africa and DA Premier Candidates will be starting a tour around the country to hear first-hand what we can do better to make our communities safer.

Communities like Westbury do not only need more police patrolling in their communities, they need an honest and professional police service who they can trust to fight crime and keep them safe.

As the ANC chooses to turn a blind eye to spiralling violent crime – vulnerable communities across the country have become paralysed by fear as gangsters and thugs continue to run amok.

South Africans are sick and tired of fearing for their lives and that of their children.

The DA is the only party that is truly committed to combatting crime, fighting corruption and establishing an honest and professional police service.

DA challenges Minister Cele to visit SA’s under-resourced ‘rape capital’ police station

The statement follows an oversight inspection by the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, the DAWN KZN Chairperson, Shehana Kajee, and North Central Durban Constituency Head, Tim Brauteseth MP, to the Inanda Police Station in KwaZulu-Natal. Please find attached English and IsiZulu soundbites by Mr Mbhele and a English soundbite by Ms Kajee. Pictures can be found here, here and here

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the Inanda Police Station in KwaZulu-Natal. The visit follows the release of the 2016/17 police crime statistics, which revealed that the Inanda Police Station has the highest number of reported rape cases in the country.

The DA challenges Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to visit Inanda Police Station to ensure that the station is adequately resourced to fight the scourge of rape.

The station had 348 reported sexual offences cases, of which 309 were rape cases. The reported rape cases increased by 13.6% from the 2015/16 financial year.

These numbers are truly astonishing, and the figures could possibly be much worse given the fact that many rape victims do not report the crime, due to their fear of revictimisation at the hands of the police.

The local police have attributed the high rape rate in Inanda to alcohol abuse in the community. There are an estimated 177 licensed liquor spots in the area and an unknown number of unlicensed ones.

Furthermore, the station commander also confirmed that staff shortages, inaccessible roads and the lack of CCTV in the area make it impossible for the police to perform raids, patrol and timeously respond to call-outs.

From previous oversight inspections, the DA found that township police stations in general are under-resourced, under-equipped and police officers are often under-trained to effectively combat crime.

The low conviction rates for rape are also an area of concern for the Inanda police due to chronic delays in DNA results.

We found that the victim friendly rooms are in a fair condition. However, the rooms do not have beds as “it is not in line with procedure and policy”.

Victims of sexual violence deserve to have access to safe and dignified police stations, when they report the crime.

South Africans deserve a professional and well-resourced police force which is able to bring down the high rape rates and crime levels in the country.

The DA is committed to see police stations that are equipped with adequate resources and specialised training for police personnel in order to ensure that the victims of sexual violence are treated with dignity and that justice is served.

DA calls for ANC Cash-Heist involvement to be fully probed by the Hawks

Yesterday’s revelations that ANC Luthuli House staff have been planning and running Cash-in-Transit heists, demand immediate investigation of all criminal activity being run out of Luthuli House.

Once more the ANC at its highest levels is revealed as a criminal organization, and a party that has abandoned the values of Nelson Mandela to become little more than a front for crime and corruption. The ANC continues to leave the people of South Africa behind, as it focuses on self-enrichment.

The DA has today requested a full and thorough investigation into all crime being planned out of Luthuli House be conducted by the Hawks. We call on the Head of the Hawks to prioritize this investigation, without fear or favour, and to move on Luthuli House as early as today.

It is highly unbelievable that Mr Present could run intricate Cash-in-Transit heists only in his spare time. According to ANC NEC member and Police Minister, Bheki Cele, Mr Present, is linked to three heists.

The DA also calls on the ANC to immediately hand over all computer and electronic equipment of the cash-heist suspect employee, Mr. Present, to the Police for investigation. In order to expose the rot of crime at Luthuli House, the ANC must hand over Mr. Present’s:

  • Computers
  • E-mails
  • Telephones
  • Telephone records
  • Hard-drives

The DA calls on the ANC to hand these over today, without any delay, if the party is at all committed to dealing with this serious crime in its own ranks, and crime in general.

We further call on the ANC to open its books to public scrutiny so as satisfy the people of South Africa, that the Party does not run its day-to-day an campaign operations with the proceeds of cash-transit-heists and crime in general.

Recently the depth of criminality in the ANC has been widely exposed, from alleged involvement in the illegal cigarette trade, to collaboration with violent gangsters and state capture suspects, to Mr. Mduduzi Manana’s conviction for assault, Cllr. Andile Lungisa’s conviction for assault, Cllr. Sipho Maselane’s conviction for rape and robbery, among many other cases.

Convicted fraudster, Tony Yengeni’s elevation as head of the ANC’s crime and corruption working group, is clear sign that the ANC does not take matters of crime and corruption seriously – acts that rob communities of opportunities and lives. The ANC may have a new leader but it continues with its old ways.

While the ANC lurches from criminal incident to incident, the people of South Africa suffer under failing service delivery and increasing crime on our streets. South Africa desperately needs to see order restored, and crime effectively policed.

DA refers Police Minister and Commissioner to Public Protector for misleading Parliament on VIP Protection costs

Please find attached IsiZulu and English soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP

The DA will refer the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkwhebane, as we have reason to believe that Police leadership have not been transparent regarding the steep cost escalations in VIP Protection during the Zuma years.

Replies to DA Parliamentary questions have revealed that there has been no rational, objective basis for the exorbitant budget increase for the VIP Protection Services and Presidential Protection Services since 2010. In the last financial year alone, VIP Protection costs increased by over R100 million.

In late April, during Parliament’s Budget and Annual Performance Plans hearing on SAPS, I asked Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole for the reasons behind these increases. He stated that the cost escalations were based on “security threat assessments”.

However, a reply to a DA Parliamentary question last year, reveals that SAPS has done virtually no security threat assessments for individuals since 2010. Thus, the reason Sitole gave for the continuous, above-inflation budget escalations seems to be baseless on the available evidence.

Furthermore, a Parliamentary reply received last week, cites the “additional members of Cabinet [who] must be protected” as one of the reasons for the budget escalation. However, there has not been a year-on-year increase in the Cabinet size since 2010. In addition to this, the number of personal protectors assigned to Cabinet Ministers has stayed fairly constant since 2013, ranging from 382 to 405 each year.

The same reply also claims “an increase in manifested threats against VIPs” as one of the reasons for the escalated budget. However, how can SAPS give this as a reason with hardly any security assessments done for the past 8 years?

It is clear that both the Minister and the Police Commissioner are not forthcoming as to the reasons why costs of VIP Protection Services have ballooned from R353 million in 2008/09 to R1.5 billion in 2018/19.

So far the only reasonable conclusion is that all the cost escalations happened within the Presidential Protection Service and is further evidence of how Jacob Zuma received direct, unreasonable and undue benefit from public resources. It’s basically another Nkandla-type scandal and we don’t know if it entails an increase in the number of personnel as attempts to obtain this information were rebuffed because “disclosure of this information in itself can pose a serious risk to the effective protection of the President and Deputy President”.

The ANC spends more money on VIP Protection than they do on land reform, which begs the question – is the ANC serious about land reform and building a safe and equitable society?

It is clear that the ANC government prioritises the safety of politicians, in the feathered nest of the executive elite, over that of ordinary people who are ambushed by crime in their homes, in public spaces and places of work. Only a DA-led government will bring the kind of change that ensures that the police service is more professional, efficient and effective to ensure that our streets and homes are safer for all South Africans.

Cancellation of tender for rape and DNA collection kits deals a massive blow to the fight against sexual violence in SA

The DA notes the admission by the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) that there is a shortage of rape and DNA collection kits at some of its police stations, and we are concerned by the fact the procurement process is reported to have faltered due to the unsuitability of all the bidders involved.

According to the SAPS, “two of the suppliers that took part in the bid process were disqualified because they could not meet the specifications as outlined by the department. During this process, the SAPS however discovered that the third supplier that did meet the required specifications is currently under criminal investigation”.

The DA previously revealed massive shortages of 18,637 rape kits and 43,489 DNA kits in the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units alone in several provinces.

These statistics are both shocking and reflective of the nation-wide crisis in which victims of rape and abuse are failed on a constant basis due to the under-resourced and under-equipped police service.

The SAPS does not seem to take the matter as seriously as they should, failing to acknowledge that this is a crisis for thousands of rape victims across the country. That this situation has come to pass is due to appalling mismanagement in the SAPS.

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must ensure that the bidding process to stock up much-needed and crucial equipments is urgently but lawfully expedited to ensure that perpetrators are successfully prosecuted and that victims of rape and abuse – many of them children – can be confident that justice will be served when they report these cases to the police.

Minister Cele must urgently address the chronic mismanagement in the SAPS and tackle the numerous issues which impede the police’s ability to ensure safe streets and safe homes for all South Africans.

 

Children are the victims of almost 50% of all cases of rape in the last three years

The DA can reveal that of the 124 526  rape cases reported in the last 3 financial years, children were the victims of shocking 41% of these cases. A parliamentary reply also revealed that in the same period, more than 2 600 children were murdered, which constitutes 5% of all reported murders. This also means that at least 46 children are raped every day and at least 2 children are murdered every single day in South Africa.

Only 21% of child rapes cases and only 1 in 3 murder cases resulted in successful convictions.

The horrific brutality with which these children were murdered is also frightening. Weapons used, include firearms, axes, spades, pangas, hammers, belts and poison– many of these children were practically butchered to death.

These statistics are disturbing at the very least and likely to worsen given the numerous crises within the South African Police Services (SAPS) leadership. It is clear that without political will, the police will to continue to fail in its mandate to ensure the reduction of the country’s unacceptably high levels of crime levels and safety of all South Africans, especially children.

Something is seriously amiss and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must take a firm stand against these senseless losses of life and the brutal murders of our children.

It is Minister Cele’s responsibility to ensure the investigations into the cases are expedited and that perpetrators are brought to book.

The DA has consistently called for the professionalisation of police service and Minister Cele should be gravely concerned about the police’s lack of training and capacity to carry out their duties effectively.

An ineffective police service flies in the face of victims of murder and rape who are failed by the very people that should be protecting them.

 

DA urges SAPS to ensure full accountability against officials who turned away family wanting to report their autistic child missing

This statement follows our visit to the Mamelodi SAPS Station today by DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP and Member of Gauteng Legislature, Adriana Randall MPL.

 Please find attached soundbites in English and IsiZulu by Mr Mbhele.

Today the DA visited the Mamelodi Police Station following reports that the police initially refused to open a missing persons case for the family of a ten-year-old autistic girl, Katlego “Katli” Joja who was later found dead in a river.

The DA sends our heartfelt condolences to the Joja family who had to bury their young ‘Katli’ at the weekend.

The DA conducted an oversight visit to the police station to get to the bottom as to why the police allegedly turned away a family of an autistic child with the excuse that they “have to wait 48 hours”.

The police cannot turn anyone who wishes to report a missing person away, let alone the distressed family of a missing special needs child.

The fact that this reportedly happened highlights the under-training and soft-on-accountability culture in the police service that fosters lax standards of unprofessional conduct.

It is for this reason that the DA calls on the police to institute disciplinary proceedings against the SAPS officials who neglected their duty to assist Katli’s family.

We were pleased to hear from station and cluster management present at our oversight meeting today that they are taking the matter seriously: notices of disciplinary action were served last Monday on members who were on duty at the Community Service Centre at the time that the Joja family came to report missing Katlego and the station management are awaiting statements from the family to enable the disciplinary process to get underway.

The DA urges that the SAPS ensures full accountability for those found guilty of misconduct.

It is the police’s duty to protect the most the vulnerable in our society, especially our children.

It is an indictment on the ANC government and the SAPS top brass which continues to fail our people due to the under-resourced and under-trained police service. Despite the failings of top leadership, the DA does wish to acknowledge the rapid response and massive activation of resources mounted once station management was made aware of the initial failings by the frontline junior officers a little later that same day namely that:

  • vehicles were dispatched and search-and-rescue dogs brought in from the Thursday night;
  • 2 houses of traditional healers were searched to eliminate the  suspicion of muti murder and a helicopter search was activated;
  • a mass pamphlet/flyer drive was implemented and normal procedures were followed of checking with health facilities and neighbouring police stations, including the mobilisation of resources from outside the station precinct; and
  • additionally on the day that Katlego was found, the station communications officer visited churches to appeal for information and, once Katlego was found, the EHW (Employee Health & Wellness) service of the SAPS was brought in to offer counselling to the family.

The DA will continue mounting pressure on Police Minister Bheki Cele to ensure that no child faces undue risk due to the police’s inability to ensure safety in our communities.