Safety of Ekurhuleni residents under siege as murder, sexual offences and hijackings increases

The lives and livelihoods of the residents of the City of Ekurhuleni are at high risk following the recently released crime statistics by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that Ekurhuleni police stations had the most reported cases in these increased crimes nationally; specifically with regards to violent crime, including murder (13.6%), sexual offences (11%), attempted murder (19.4%) and truck hijackings (36.8%.).

Most crimes in South Africa like murder, violent crimes, sexual offences, attempted murder, and hijacking have bounced back to and exceeded pre-Covid-19 levels.

However, Gauteng SAPS has been losing ground in the battle against crime, as the lackluster leadership of the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and Minister of Police, Bheki Cele continues.

The sharp upward trajectory in crime shows a clear indication that police stations still have a mammoth task of combatting crime on their hands. The list below shows the police stations that reported most a crime nationally:

• Tembisa ranking 4th for contact crimes,
• Tsakane and Tembisa ranking 10th and 12th for rape,
• Tembisa and Springs ranking 3rd and 17th for Trio crimes,
• Tembisa and Germiston ranking 11th and 29th for carjacking,
• Tembisa and Springs ranking 4th and 14th for robbery at residential premises,
• Brakpan, Kempton Park, Springs, Germiston, and Boksburg North are on the top 30 for robbery at non-residential premises,
• Boksburg North, Kempton Park, Alberton, Bedfordview, Germiston and Boksburg ranked in the top 30 in South Africa for truck hijacking,
• Tembisa, Boksburg North, Kempton Park, and Germiston in top 30 for kidnapping,
• Benoni and Kempton Park 28th and 29th for property-related crimes.

Tembisa, Springs, Kempton Park, Germiston, and Boksburg North are some of the police stations that have come up a number of times for all the wrong reasons.

During the #DAGautengPoliceWatch campaign, the DA observed shortages of personnel, training, and vehicles at many of Ekurhuleni’s hardest-hit stations.

It is of the utmost importance that SAPS has all the means at its disposal to combat crime, particularly in these areas that are hardest hit.

The DA demands that MEC Mazibuko must urgently intensify all efforts to deal with the high levels of crime facing the residents of Ekurhuleni. We will continue to fight to ensure that all our police stations across the province are adequately equipped to ensure the safety of our residents.

Lesufi’s promises to Eldorado Park community to curb crime is just hot air

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the fact that Premier Panyaza Lesufi took the time to address the community of Eldorado Park regarding their concerns about safety in the community. However, these are many empty promises that will never materialise as the current government has failed to address increasing crime in the province.

The DA wrote letters to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele regarding the escalating crime in the area and our concerns fell on deaf ears.

During his engagement with the community, Premier Lesufi made a slew of promises. He promised the community that they will get helicopters and drones to ramp up efforts to increase police visibility and clamp down on crime.

However, it is still unclear where the money for these new crime-fighting initiatives will come from. Furthermore, there was no indication of whether the South African Police Service (SAPS) have the necessary skills in their workforce to enforce this new strategy.

The only way in which we can address the rampant crime in the area is by getting basic right. The DA, therefore, demands that Premier Lesufi along with MEC Mazibuko do the following:
• Cut the red tape and provide support to the police stations, Community Police Forum (CPF) and neighbourhood watches
• The reservist programme needs to be restarted as a matter of urgency
• Outline exactly where the money for helicopters and drone pilots will come from
• Ensure that all police stations have sufficient vehicles and adequate personnel

The promises that were made to the community this week look good on paper and look like they will address the crime situation but does nothing in the interim to prevent people from being killed.

Crime is increasing across the province, and instead of sounding clever in the heat of the moment, an advisory committee consisting of experts as stipulated in the DA’s Community Safety Oversight bill should be implemented.

Millions of rands spent to safeguard GPG-owned vacant properties, yet illegal occupations and crime intensify

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is currently spending millions of rands to secure and safeguard 1836 vested properties and 482 deemed properties.

A typical example is the dilapidated buildings in Amandasig in Pretoria North that have been taken over by illegal invaders. This happens despite having security hired to safeguard the premises.
This has led to an unsafe environment for our residents and a spike in crime due to alleged drug dealing that is taking place on these premises.

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has indicated that for the past three years, the following amount of money has been spent on securing and safeguarding these properties:

• 2022 (for the past six months)- R15 498 638,04
• 2021- R25 693 361,76
• 2022- R23 507 535,00

In 2021, GDID indicated that the property in Amadasig was occupied by 17 Lesotho nationals, however, the DA has learnt that currently there are at least 300 Lesotho nationals living with South Africans in this building.

Given the huge amounts of money spent on securing these buildings from being vandalised and illegally occupied it would be expected that none of the vacant buildings is illegally invaded.

Furthermore, GDID indicated that a process was underway to vest this property which has been earmarked for nature conservation to the department. However, there has been no movement, and the building is still illegally occupied.

For the longest time, the DA has been warning the current government that the longer these buildings remain vacant they become vulnerable to illegal occupation and vandalism.

The DA demands that GDID should act swiftly and start the process of evicting the illegal invaders and ensure that those who are paid to safeguard these properties do their work. We cannot allow the department to spend millions on service providers who are unable to do their job properly.

The new MEC for Infrastructure Development, Lebogang Maile, must urgently do a forensic audit of all government-owned buildings that are vacant and the current state that they are in.
Furthermore, the GDID must put a plan in place to ensure that these properties are used for the benefit of our communities instead of taxpayers having to fork out more money on vacant buildings.

We also propose that where the vacant buildings are allocated to specific departments, they must look at ways of using these buildings for the benefit of our residents. In addition, these departments should also consider utilising these buildings instead of paying an exorbitant amount of money on rental fees.

DA’s Community Safety Bill only solution to curb the spate of shootings in Gauteng

The only solution to curb the violent spates of shooting in Gauteng is to adopt the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Community Safety Bill, which will assist in improving police intelligence to be able to investigate and curb these incidents.

The Bill would give effect to an integrated approach to curb crime. It will include all stakeholders in the law enforcement agencies, such as the South African Police Service (SAPS), metro police, Community Policing Forum (CPF), security companies, neighbourhood watches and street patrollers.

Yesterday, a further 20 people were shot dead during these unexplainable and vicious attacks. Sixteen people were killed in a gang feud between two illegal mining gangs in Soweto, and the other four were killed in Lenasia.

This is the fifth incident in Gauteng within a week which makes the public wonder whether it is by an organized crime syndicate.

The Bill will also regulate the Gauteng Provincial Government’s powers and functions regarding its oversight function over the police services.

The residents of Gauteng no longer have confidence in our police system, and it is through this Bill that will rebuild the trust between residents and the SAPS.

Through the DA’s #GautengPoliceWatch campaign, we will be engaging with the police and community members to establish better ways that will assist the police in preventing and fighting crime.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, must liaise with the Gauteng Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to deploy the public order police in the province. They should also deploy the under-utilised police resources in Gauteng to ensure increased police visibility in areas where there is an increase in crime.

We will continue to monitor the progress concerning the allocation of additional SAPS resources in Gauteng by Minister Cele. It is long overdue, as for far too long, the DA’s plea for allocation of additional resources for SAPS has been ignored.

The DA would like to send its deepest condolences to all the families that lost their loved ones because of these shootings.

We also urge the community members not to be discouraged but to continue to speak up and share information with the police. Together we can win the fight against crime.

Shortage of police officers and backlog in staff training endangers the Safety of Gauteng residents

The shortage of police officers and a huge backlog in SAPS’s staff training is severely affecting the rendering of police services in Gauteng police stations. 

During the DA’s oversight inspections at Jeppe and Sophiatown SAPS as part of our 100 days #GautengPoliceWatch campaign, we discovered that these police stations have a severe shortage of police officers and have not received various kinds of training in years. 

The two police stations do not have enough police officers for either visible policing or in the detective offices. 

One of the main concerns is that experienced detectives are leaving the police service and are not getting replaced by well-experienced officers. 

New recruits are said to have been identified for detective work at the police training colleges, however, the station has no say in who is fit for purpose when detectives are assigned to them. 

Due to the lack of succession planning, incoming detectives would also be working at a disadvantage, as the experienced detectives are leaving the police service at an alarming rate and will not be able to impart any of their expertise to newer detectives. 

Furthermore, police officers at Jeppe police station have not had firearm competency training for almost four years. Even when firearm training was held, police officers were only allowed training with handguns as R-5 and shotgun ammunition were in short supply. 

At Sophiatown police station firearm and staff training have not been conducted since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. 

The DA will be tabling questions to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain what measures are being put in place to ensure that firearm and staff training are conducted for all the SAPS in the province.

The police officers are overburdened with the workload which has a huge negative impact on their well-being and execution of their duties. The DA will continue to apply pressure on MEC Mazibuko to close the gap of the shortage of officers at Gauteng police stations.


Gauteng Police Station ratings indicate poor police service delivery

The severe increase in serious and violent crimes in the province and a lack of adequate resources at our police stations have resulted in Gauteng police stations receiving a poor rating.

Out of the 144 police stations in Gauteng, only 5 were ranked excellent, 5 were ranked good, 121 police stations were ranked fair, and 12 police stations were ranked very poor.

This information was revealed in a report to the Select Committee on Security and Justice in the National Council of Provinces.

The fact that 121 police stations in Gauteng received a fair rating raises various concerns about the safety and security of the communities in which they are rendering police services.

Most Gauteng police stations are facing severe challenges such as deteriorating infrastructure, a lack of proper and regular maintenance, and a shortage of police vehicles and personnel, which is hampering police service delivery.

The DA’s recent oversight inspections at several police stations confirmed that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is constantly failing to maintain and budget for important elements such as holding cells, water and sanitation upgrades, and general maintenance.

Crime cannot be addressed accordingly if basic matters like upgrades and maintenance of the police stations are not prioritized and addressed.

Furthermore, we are of the view that this report needs additional analysis with more details attached for each station so as to ascertain exactly what requires attention for a maintenance plan to be compiled and budgeted for to address each station based on the seriousness of the issues.

A well-equipped and functional work environment is essential for police officers to feel dignified and motivated to combat crime.

The DA will embark on its own oversight tour to each of the 144 police stations in Gauteng to assess within the next 100 days the risks, challenges, and possible solutions.

Police stations are supposed to be safe havens for victims of crime, a place where they can walk in and immediately feel that they are protected and cared for. This is not the case, and these ratings prove it.

The DA believes that we should identify ways to improve police working conditions to empower and equip officers to execute their mandate.


Gauteng residents’ safety is under siege as 30 people are killed, highjacked or raped daily

According to the fourth quarter report of the 2021/2022 Gauteng Crime Statistics, there has been a 45.2 % increase in reported murder cases, a 31.7% increase in attempted murder, 26% in highjackings and a 11.6 % increase in rape cases which all implies that residents face a dismal future.

These percentages refer to a total of 2792 reported cases of either murder or attempted murder for 90 days which equates to 30 people either being murdered or victims of attempted murder in one day.

Sign our petition to urge Members of the Legislature to support the DA’s Community Safety Bill & ensure your safety:

Similarly, a total of 2936 cars were highjacked over 90 days equating to a total of 32 car highjackings daily and a total of 2267 people raped over the 90 days.

Each hour, more than one person is affected, ripped of their dignity and scarred for their life because of the above-mentioned crimes.

These statistics trigger fear for residents as they are scared, wondering if they will be the next victim; they have lost hope in the police services.

The crime statistics report should not only include the crime stats but should also reflect a detailed analysis of the reasons why these crimes were not prevented, what the shortcomings are at these police stations and the challenges in the communities that face these constant increases in crime.

The Gauteng MEC  for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and  Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Elias Mawela should include their recommendations with these findings and table a proper plan as to how they are going to address this spate of crime in the next financial year.

The DA has interrogated the Community Safety annual report and the list of police stations that were visited as part of the MEC’s oversight visits. These visits merely confirmed that they comply with legislative requirements, and do not drill into the challenges that stations are facing in curbing crime and carrying out their mandate.

In addition, the DA has done oversight inspections at several police stations over the last few months. We can confirm that our stations are not well equipped or maintained in terms of basic infrastructure and technological requirements, such as electricity, sanitation, and the internet. Hence, Gauteng is in the top 30 of every crime reported nationally. This impacts negatively on the functionality, performance, visible policing, and crime prevention.

The importance of the DA-sponsored Community Oversight Bill is highlighted by the Gauteng SAPS stations’ performance in that it is needed to fight against crimes such as hijackings, rapes, and murders. Criminals have exploited innocent communities due to the lack of a proactive plan by the MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, to introduce 24-hour police visibility throughout the province.

The DA will therefore embark on its oversight inspections of all the police stations across the province to ascertain service delivery challenges and compile a comprehensive report of the real state of our police stations. This report will be used as a tool to find tangible solutions which we can table in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to address crime within Gauteng going forward. The residents of Gauteng deserve to feel safe.


Johannesburg Central and Honeydew residents are under seige

The residents of Honeydew and Johannesburg Central areas are living in fear for their lives and their belongings, according to the fourth quarter crime statistics of 2021/2022.

The two police stations recorded the highest number of serious crimes in the province which is a clear indication that the residents of the juristic of these police stations are in danger. This is a result of the law enforcement agencies’ failure to ensure their safety and prevent crime.

Johannesburg Central Police Station is leading in Gauteng with the highest number of cases in the below crimes:

Community reported serious crimes:2021
Contact crime: 988
Murder: 35
Trio crimes: 83
Robbery at non-residential premises:61
Robbery in cash in transit:1

In second position is the Honeydew Police station which has recorded the following cases in the below crimes:

Community reported serious crimes: 2149
Contact crime: 724
Rape: 45
Trio Crimes:122
Carjacking: 45
Robbery at residential premises: 38

These crime statistics are extremely worrying as these two police stations have been constantly in the top five in the province in terms of serious crimes being reported.

Honeydew SAPS is struggling to ensure residents’ safety because it lacks adequate resources, and it covers a huge area which includes Cosmo City and Zandspruit Informal Settlement. The resources at this police station are overstretched and there is an urgent need for two police stations to ensure that proper policing takes place.

For far too long, the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and the SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela have promised to intervene and assist these worst performing police stations. Surely, these crime statistics are a clear indication that their interventions are not yielding any positive results.

The only solution to this problem is to speed up the adoption of the DA’s Community Safety Oversight Bill which will give the Gauteng Department of Community Safety powers to do oversight to improve police intelligence and fight and prevent crime.

The DA will also continue to fight to ensure that all our police stations are well equipped with all the necessary resources to fight crime. We will be conducting oversight inspections to the Honeydew and Johannesburg Central police stations to ascertain their challenges and report back to the department which has a responsibility of ensuring the safety of our residents.

The lack of resources at Boschkop SAPS is negatively impacting police visibility

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Crezane Bosch here.

The lack of human and physical resources at the Boschkop Police Station in Tshwane has greatly impacted its ability to provide visible policing that will protect residents and prevent crime.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently conducted an oversight inspection at this police station and engaged with the management of the station and the CPF to discuss the challenges they are facing that are impacting negatively on the functionality of the station.

This station has jurisdiction of approximately 300 square km and 50 000 residents, yet it only has one single vehicle and two motorbikes for visible policing and only 86 of the 106 allocated members. This leaves this station with a 20% vacancy rate.

Two days ago, another farm murder occurred, adding to the high spike of farm attacks in the area which begs the question as to how the police are expected to be visible with just one vehicle.

Boschkop consists of mostly informal settlements and farms, and it is not practical for police officers to have only one vehicle for visibility in those areas. Without the necessary resources, the station is unable to do visible policing within this rural and farming community.

Moreover, the cells in the station have been closed after a suspect escaped and have not yet been repaired or maintained. There is no space or holding cells for any suspects who get arrested. The detainees are now being transported and charged at Garsfontein station which is a further 20kms away.
This shows that this police station is in dire straits and unable to implement its core mandate.

The DA has identified numerous challenges affecting police service delivery at Boschkop Police Station. We will be submitting a range of questions in this regard to the MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to probe why there is a delay in the filling of vacancies at the station, repairing of the broken vehicles and a lack of support from the provincial and national police departments.

The safety of our residents is of utmost importance hence the DA will continue to put pressure on the current government to ensure that all our police stations are well equipped with the necessary resource to fight crime.

85 funded vacancies while Gauteng’s roads continue to deteriorate, putting residents’ lives in danger

Gauteng residents are forced to use roads that are in very poor condition with potholes everywhere, roads that are in dire need of resurfacing and road verges that are not properly maintained. This is because there are currently 85 funded vacancies in the department that are yet to be filled.

The lack of consistent and regular maintenance on our roads puts the lives of our motorists at risk on a daily basis. Many motorists are flagged as high risk as they constantly claim from their insurance due to accidents caused by the bad conditions of our roads.

This information was provided to me in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature from the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo.

Road reserves and verges that are not regularly cleared provides the perfect hideout for criminals who take advantage of vulnerable motorists which could lead to an increase in hijackings on our roads.

Now that lockdown restrictions have been eased, maintenance work must begin in earnest to ensure that our roads are always in tip-top shape.

It is unacceptable that tenders that needed to be awarded were stalled, because of constraints within the Supply Chain Management department.

Furthermore, no consequence management for this took place which once again highlights that no political will exists within the Premier Makhura-led administration to ensure that service delivery takes place.

If this situation is not remedied as a matter of urgency, then the state of our roads will continue to deteriorate, and we will see a spike in road accidents and fatalities on our province’s roads. I will be engaging directly with the MEC for Transport on this matter as we cannot allow this situation to continue.