52 South Africans murdered, 109 raped and 46 hijacked every day.

Today’s release of the Annual Crime Statistics shockingly revealed that violent and organised crimes tragically continue to increase and there have been 52 murders, 109 rapes and 46 hijacking victims every day in South Africa.
This is in large part, a direct result of the chronic under-training, under-staffing, under-resourcing and under-equipping (the four U’s) of the South African Police Services (SAPS), combined with crime intelligence-in-crisis and detectives-in-distress. This means that the SAPS is unable to tackle organised crime and the syndicates who drive it and lack a strong, skilled investigative capacity to ensure high detection and conviction rates.

What is beyond doubt is that the Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, is ultimately responsible for the allocation of SAPS resources. It is up to him to take the nation into his confidence and to tell us what concrete plans he has to address this national crisis.
– DA Shadow Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele

We must also question whether or not these statistics are a true reflection of the level of crime, as research does seem to point to under-reporting and under-recording of crimes.
We expect a detailed plan on how Minister, Fikile Mbalula will address the four U’s, professionalise the police service and ensure fit and proper police leadership.
Click here to read the full statement by DA Shadow Minister of Police Zakhele Mbhele.

Only Mbalula can make sure SAPS are properly resourced to bring crime down

The DA’s oversight visit to the Nyanga Police Station this morning is a sad reminder that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is not given what they need at station level to do their jobs and bring down the unacceptably high level of crime in our country.
With the annual crime statistics release on Tuesday, the fact remains that the SAPS are chronically under-trained, under-staffed, under-resourced and under-equipped (four Us), a pervasively shoddy state of affairs rooted in poor leadership with often skewed priorities. This is one of the main reasons why the SAPS is not a professional service that can effectively fight crime and keep South Africans safe.
At the end of the day, the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, is the one who decides on where resources for the SAPS are allocated. Minister Mbalula would do well to step outside of his Twitter universe and address the four Us and ensure fit-for-purpose top brass in the police.
Regardless of whether or not Tuesday’s Crime Statistics increase or decrease, we can all agree that crime in our country is unacceptably high.
When Mbalula addresses the public on Tuesday, the DA fully expects him to present a detailed plan of how he intends to ensure the SAPS are professionalised by addressing the major shortcomings of the four Us, rooted in poor leadership, so that they can deliver on their mandate of bringing down crime and keeping South Africans safe.
In a place like Nyanga, and far too many other communities across the country, people cannot walk down the street without fearing for their safety and their lives. With a population of approximately 58 000 residents (and growing) and the highest contact crime levels in the country, this is a police precinct that should be among the best-resourced and adequately staffed.
Instead what we found during our oversight visit is major personnel and infrastructural shortfalls:

  • The posts for sector commanders remain vacant
  • The station is unable to have at least 2 Crime Prevention vehicles per sector on patrol
  • There are inadequate detention cells leading to overcrowding
  • There are delays in vehicles coming out of the SAPS Garages from getting repairs and maintenance
  • Some detectives have caseloads of more than 200 dockets, even up to 230

We will never be able to address this national crisis unless Mbalula commits to tackling the 4 Us head-on by bringing police leadership up to necessary competence standards and making sure the SAPS have what they need to make South Africa safe.

Mbalula reveals 14.5% increase in child murders in South Africa

Please find attached English soundbite by the DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard MP. Also attached, is a Zulu soundbite.

It has been revealed in a parliamentary reply that child murders in South Africa increased 14.5% year-on-year, totalling a truly appalling 969 cases in the 2014/2015 financial year.
In the answer to a DA question (first posed by MP Mike Waters in 2014) the Minister of Police admits the question had gone unanswered for more than three years. This really speaks to the lack of urgency shown by the government in tackling the scourge of child murders. The DA has been trying to get statistics for child homicide rates in South Africa for the past ten years, but have been frustrated by a government that is either unwilling to address the crisis, or is indifferent to it.
The Minister’s reply, covering a two year period, details the murder weapons used and includeS knives (604), firearms (397), sharp instruments (203), hands (177), sticks (78), stones/bricks (53), string/wire (30), poison (25), and axes (23).
These gruelling statistics serve as clear evidence that this government is failing our children and their silence on this matter is unacceptable.
The DA will be submitting further parliamentary questions to the relevant ministers to determine how many alleged perpetrators were prosecuted and/or convicted. We will also submit parliamentary questions to the Minister of Police asking for details on what steps his department is taking to address this clearly escalating crisis.
The DA remains committed to ensuring that children grow up in a safe and secure environment that shields them from violence and abuse, allowing them to pursue their dreams and aspire to their full potential.

DA condemns Fikile Mbalula’s comments encouraging police brutality and impunity

The DA strongly condemns comments made by Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, at the Pretoria West Police Academy today. Addressing the police’s specialised Tactical Response Team, Mbalula both encouraged police brutality and assured those in attendance that he would help them avoid the repercussions.
Mbalula is quoted as saying: “We must squeeze them. When they’ve got balls‚ we must crush them.” He is also encouraged impunity by saying: “Even if you do not have a warrant of arrest‚ slap them. Break the law progressively and let me worry about court cases.”
It is deeply concerning and irresponsible for the minister tasked with overseeing the South African Police Service (SAPS) to encourage impunity, especially when addressing SAPS personnel in his official capacity.
Mbalula is the latest Police Minister to encourage violent conduct and follows in the footsteps of his disgraced predecessors, Susan Shabangu and Bheki Cele, both of whom promoted violence during their tenure.
His comments are even more disgraceful considering the findings contained in StatsSA’s Victims of Crime Survey, released earlier this week, which pointed to a distinct distrust of the SAPS by victims of crime.
The DA calls on Mbalula to apologise for his inappropriate, juvenile comments and demand that he takes a strong line against police brutality.

Grace Mugabe must immediately surrender all of her passports to ensure that she does not flee the country

Grace Mugabe must today hand over all of her passports to the South African government as a show of good faith to ensure that she does not flee the country. Until she does so, she remains a massive flight risk.
While the Departments of Police and International Relations, as well as the NPA, play for touch with what is fast becoming a diplomatic runaround, the facts remain. Grace Mugabe needs to be arrested to face charges of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm – charges for which the investigation is complete and ready for court.
The DA has already confirmed that Ms Mugabe does not qualify for diplomatic immunity, and reports today confirm that the government is similarly in possession of a legal opinion to this effect.
However, the current delays and previous events with Al Bashir mean it is imperative that South Africa be assured that Grace Mugabe will not flee the country in order to evade justice. The only way to ensure this is for all her passports to immediately be surrendered.
I will also be writing to both the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, and the Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, to urge them in the strongest terms to issue a warrant of arrest against Ms Mugabe.
No one is above the law and the DA will do everything possible to ensure that Ms Mugabe is not allowed to flee South Africa before she faces up to the charges against her.

Ministers mum on Government links with Bell Pottinger

The Ministers of Communications, Police, Public Enterprises and Small Business Development have chosen to remain mum on their links to Bell Pottinger.
The DA submitted a range of Parliamentary questions to all government departments asking them whether they or their entities have made use of the services of Bell Pottinger.
The DA submitted these questions in the interest of transparency, as it is important that the public know the full extent of Bell Pottinger’s relationship with our government.
Of all the departments, which responded to our questions, the Department of Tourism is the only department to confirm their links with the PR firm.
The DA’s questions appeared in Parliament’s questions paper on 26 May 2017 and their replies were due by 9 June 2017.
According to the National Assembly Rule 145(5)(a):“A question for written reply must be replied to within 10 working days, provided that the responsible Minister may in writing request the Speaker for an extension not exceeding a further 10 working days on good cause shown”.
However, none of the four Ministers requested an extension for any of our questions.
Therefore, the utter silence on this matter is highly concerning, especially considering in light of all the information coming to light, seemingly confirming that the ANC government has been captured by the Guptas.
Following the destructive propaganda campaign, Bell Pottinger designed for the Guptas, which saw the PR company exploiting racial divisions in our country, we need to know which departments have been in cahoots with Bell Pottinger and the Guptas.
The hearing into the Bell Pottinger’s behaviour, following a complaint laid by the DA, will be heard by the Public Relations and Communications Association in London on 18th of August 2017.
The DA is determined to ensure that Bell Pottinger, not only accounts but commits to reinvesting any profits from their dealings with the Guptas back to South Africa.

We are in cycles of outrage followed by amnesia and inaction

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Police, Marius Redelinghuys MP, during the Budget Vote on Police and Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
Chairperson,
Last year I spoke about the war on women, the war on LGBTI, the war on the independence of state institutions, and the war raging in rural communities across this country.
It is beyond frustrating to stand here again today to address these very same issues, and to observe how little, if anything, has changed.
For the benefit of the new Minister, I will repeat the suggestions I made to his ill-fated predecessor:
We must have specific, separate data on sexual and gender-based crimes, crimes against queer persons and farm attacks and murders.”
In March, after years of DA and civil society pleas, we finally got disaggregated sexual offences statistics following my request for it captured in the September mid-term budget Committee report.
I also said that “effectively trained police must ensure that these crimes are promptly and thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are brought to justice. Survivors must have access to full reparation and means of protection.
And finally, I said “the Rural Safety Strategy does not lead to actual, specialist boots on the ground” and reiterated “our call for adequately trained, equipped and capacitated specialised Rural Reaction Units.
I hope that the new Minister will embrace the bona fide proposals of the opposition as eagerly as he fires away on Twitter.
But, as being able to get disaggregated statistics on sexual offences showed, Parliament can get things done without – and often in spite of – the whims, wishes and excuses of the executive.
Thus, turning to the war on the independence of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the Hawks, I urge the Committee to initiate proceedings amending both Acts to bring them in line with the Constitution.
We have watched with disbelief the public spat between IPID and the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the on-going Hawks saga.
In this, I advise the Acting National Commissioner to let the investigation run its course and refrain from attacking IPID’s very existence, lest somebody seeks a declaratory order for him violating the Constitution. Findings and alleged procedural irregularities can be taken on judicial review if he is unhappy.
I am pleased that the Minister has taken a hard-line approach on Berning Ntlemeza, but it is not enough.
The Constitutional Court set clear deadlines for Parliament, not the executive, to remedy the legislative defects.
The Committee should fix this as speedily as the Justice Portfolio Committee fixed the Sexual Offences Act in the previous Parliament after a Western Cape High Court judgement.
Lastly, Chairperson, on the “war on women” we are, unfortunately, in what Lisa Vetten describes as cycles of outrage followed by amnesia and inaction.
Sadly, after making the headlines, Karabo Mokoena, Bukelwa Moerane, Lerato Moloi, Jeannette Cindi and the countless other names become mere statistics debated in hearings like this; footnotes to the real horror story South African women face on a daily basis.
So, what is to be done?
We, as MPs, must debate and engage with the failures of this government to meaningfully address violence against women in Parliament.
In addition to what my colleague said, we must also heed civil society’s calls and pioneer a budgeted national strategic plan on gender-based violence, aligning government and societal efforts around clear strategic priorities, timeframes and resources, and create an inescapable accountability mechanism.
Police must also heed the pleas of thousands of women when they say this bridge, or that park, or that corner is not safe. Turning a woman away when reporting a domestic violence case should be a dismissible offence. Make an example of police officers who do this.
Ending the war on women goes beyond just public and private sector programmes. We must change deep-seated, often dearly held, attitudes. Each one of us, men specifically, must take ownership of and tackle our own attitudes that enable or encourage toxic, deadly masculinity.
My fellow man, if you’ve laughed at, or even sheepishly smiled at, a sexist joke without calling such rubbish out, you have enabled, if not encouraged, the men you warn your daughters and sisters about.
We demand that the Minister brings Parliament the plans he and the department have to seriously address this scourge.
Changing attitudes of men is the first step, but the SAPS must desist from continuing to ignore the serious violence women face each day.

It’s time for ‘business unusual’, Minister Mbalula

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, during the Budget Vote on Police and Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
It is a sad day when the Minister responsible for women, Susan Shabangu, states on Checkpoint that “Whilst Karabo came across as very strong, she was weak and hence became a victim of abuse”. The DA calls on her to immediately retract these careless and callous remarks and that she apologises to Karabo’s family.
It is also clear why we, as the DA, have already written to National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, to request a debate of national public importance on violence against women and have also requested a joint meeting of the Portfolio committees on Police, Justice and Women to discuss the government’s lack of effective response to gender-based violence.
Ngibingelela uNgqongqoshe noSekela Ngqongqoshe, amaLunga eKomiti nabaHlonishwa kuleNdlu.
At the occasion of this budget debate, it would be safe to say that this portfolio is in a critical condition.
The good news is that Minister Nhleko is gone. The damage inflicted both on this portfolio and on the reputation of its political leadership during his tenure will be his enduring legacy, which the new Minister must now work to repair.
The bad news is that the shoddy state of the police service has seemingly hardly changed from what it was this time last year, or the year before that, or going back several years, due to chronic negligence and mismanagement.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) at station level is still characterised by the four Us: Under-staffed; Under-resourced; Under-equipped; and Under-trained.
The root cause of the appalling situation is the ANC’s appointment of poor leadership with skewed priorities which fails to enforce strong accountability.
Until these fundamentals of leadership and proper organisational and systems management are fixed, there is no hope of making the police service more effective and therefore, no hope of making our country safer so that we no longer have to fear just walking down the street.
It is as simple as that.
The scourge of violence against women and children has recently been under the spotlight and we must reflect on the shortcomings and deficiencies of the organs of state that are meant to play a key role to keep safe the most vulnerable in our society.
When it comes to domestic and gender-based violence, we know that the first key mistake made was the dissolution of specialised units in the mid-2000s.
That mistake has since been rectified with the re-introduction of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Assault (FCS) Units but these units on average remain under-staffed and under-resourced and there simply are not enough of them.
This essentially means that the police have one hand tied behind their back when trying to stop to violence against women by ensuring that perpetrators do not get away with it, as a result of swift, quality investigations that secure high conviction rates.
While the police cannot by themselves prevent domestic violence or rape, effective policing can ensure that justice is served for every victim and that every perpetrator can be made an example of.
However, this effective policing cannot be realised while many stations do not have victim-friendly rooms and 40% of a sample of police stations used by the Civilian Secretariat in a past assessment was found not to be adequately capacitated in this regard.
Effective policing can also not be realised when, as often happens in many parts of the country, there aren’t enough vehicles to undertake visible patrols or respond to emergency call-outs.
In short, there will be no effective policing until the leadership, management and operation of the police service shifts from business-as-usual to ‘business unusual’.
Unfortunately, the 2017/18 SAPS budget does not indicate any such shift but signals that we can expect more of the same.
Alarmingly, the programmes of the SAPS that are crucial and directly relevant for crime-fighting and reduction, Crime Intelligence and Detective Services, are receiving the lowest relative percentage increase from 2016/17 to this financial year.
Human and sex trafficking syndicates who are preying on vulnerable girls and women in this country will not be tackled and defeated without an effective Crime Intelligence division.
Unless we boost our Detective Services, those who commit violence against women and children will know that they can do so with impunity and little to no chance of getting caught and facing the consequences of their crimes.
That is why we need a new approach in policing and it must start with you, Minister Mbalula.
You must provide decisive political leadership.
When your appointment was announced, you wasted no time in bringing your bombastic and colourful use of language and steroid-pumped social media savvy to matters of crime-fighting and policing. From #WanyaTsotsi to reckless statements that police must “fight fire with fire”, you made a big splash. However, I am concerned that you might have been missing the point.
To quote researcher and analyst, Gareth Newham, from the Institute for Security Studies, “one of [a Police Minister’s] key jobs is to create public trust in the police‚ which has been lost… People’s experiences are largely affected by how they experience the police first-hand and second-hand.
To build the public’s trust, the police must deliver better service‚ which [the Minister] can ensure through improving police training‚ provision of equipment‚ the morale of officers and adherence to the service’s code of conduct and ethics…You can’t spin your way out of it… There’s no short cut to improving public perceptions.”
This sentiment was echoed in a 6 April Business Day editorial which explained: “The danger is that when politicians don’t understand what good policing entails, they latch onto populist rhetoric. They imply, as Bheki Cele did, that we can either have human rights or effective policing; not both. But as Farlam pointed out, acting outside the law contributes to bad policing and erodes public trust. It is antics like this which create the impression Mbalula is a clown. He’ll need to work hard to change that view. He should use his energy to rebuild trust in the police.”
That trust-building process, Minister, is about getting the basics right and fixing the fundamentals of the police service. As I tweeted to you just over two weeks ago, “fighting crime is more than blitz operations. It’s about day-to-day systems management: vehicles, personnel, equipment, skills.”
Some more good news is that the ANC only have two more years left in government. After that the DA will demonstrate our resolve to bring safe streets and safe homes to all communities, where everyone can live with true freedom, to gain meaningful opportunities through the work of the national government we will lead after 2019.

Mbalula has the power to bar Ntlemeza from entering the Hawks HQ on Monday

The DA will write to the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, urging him to exercise the power that he has in terms of section 17DA of the South African Police Services (SAPS) Act to suspend former Hawks head, Berning Ntlemeza, from the SAPS.
This suspension is imperative if Ntlemeza goes ahead and lodges an appeal against the High Court order that determined the setting aside of his appointment with immediate effect.
When Mbalula fired Ntlemeza last week as Head of the Hawks, he was simply enacting the North Gauteng High Court order. If Ntlemeza’s appeal has the effect of suspending that order, then Mbalula need not sit idly by. In terms of the SAPS Act, Ntlemeza can still be removed by Mbalula through a suspension from the SAPS.
Mbalula can provisionally suspend Ntlemeza pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office in terms of section 17DA(2) of the SAPS Act.
Therefore, Mbalula has the power to keep Ntlemeza away from the Hawks regardless of the fact that he is appealing.
Having been previously found by the North Gauteng High Court to have acted in bad faith, that he was dishonest and acted without integrity, the DA have long held that Ntlemeza is not beyond reproach and cannot be given the huge responsibility to lead our country’s crime fighting unit.
The Hawks requires stability amongst its senior leadership which Ntlemeza is a threat to. Mbalula should accordingly not allow Ntlemeza to enter the Hawks building on Monday.

Over 8 000 police vehicles out of service

The DA will submit follow-up questions after a reply to a Parliamentary Question by the DA’s Vusumzi Magwebu MP has revealed that over 8000 police vehicles are currently in repair shops.
More than 2 000 vehicles in Gauteng and over 1 500 vehicles in the Eastern Cape are currently out of service and some police stations have only four vehicles to serve eight sectors.
According to another NCOP reply, there are 48 247 police vehicles nationally. This means that a shocking 16.6% of all police vehicles are currently out of service and waiting for repairs and maintenance. Because of this, there is currently only one vehicle for every 5 South African Police Services (SAPS) members.
A report received by the Gauteng legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety on Thursday furthermore revealed that there are serious challenges at the auxiliary garage, where police vehicles languish for up to three months. The report also noted a relationship between policing performance and resourcing in all eight sampled police stations.
It is all too common for police members to lack the basic equipment they need to carry out their mandate of keeping South Africans safe.
Without vehicles, the police are not able to respond timeously to crimes taking place and therefore, the under equipping of the SAPS directly threatens the safety of ordinary citizens.
The DA will establish the true extent of the crisis with follow-up questions and find out what the Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, and the SAPS command is doing about it.
It is unacceptable for the police to be incapacitated because of something as simple as a failure to accurately keep track of vehicle repairs, collect vehicles on time and run functioning vehicle repair shops.
The DA cannot stand by while crime thrives as a result of not giving police members the equipment they need to make South Africa a safer place for all.