More police visibility needed on Gauteng highways

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for greater police visibility on highways across Gauteng.

This follows the gruesome attack on a young couple on Putfontein Road in Benoni, Ekurhuleni recently.

It is believed that the bakkie that they were travelling in ran out of diesel and they were attacked by unknown assailants who were armed. Both victims were shot and died on the scene.

This is one of many incidents of violent crime that is occurring daily in our province.

More needs to be done to curb crime as our residents are no longer safe. The SAPS needs to be overhauled so that is both honest and professional, this means allocating sufficient resources, ensuring proper training of officers, and supplying the right equipment.

The DA will write to the Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela requesting that he deploy more police officers to Gauteng’s highways.

We will also monitor SAPS budget allocation to ensure that adequate resources and personnel is given to Gauteng to fight violent crime.

Last year the DA established that the National Government was spending R9.1 million per VIP, whereas only R1 500 was spent keeping each South African safe. This can no longer continue.

The DA will continue to monitor the investigation into this case to ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended and that the law takes its course.

DA questions appointment of Ximba as the Ekurhuleni ‘Security Chief’

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng rejects the appointment, made by the Ekurhuleni Mayor, Mzwandile Masina, of the controversial police officer, Nkosana ‘Killer’ Ximba, as his ‘Security Chief’.

It is unclear what Ximba’s role will be as a ‘Security Chief’, whether he will be an advisor or head the City’s metro police department, therefore the DA will submit questions in order to get a detailed report of Ximba’s role and responsibilities.

Ximba has a criminal record and is alleged to have committed murder, assault and kidnapping.

He was also investigated for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Ximba is known as an ally to the controversial former SAPS Crime Intelligence boss, Richard Mduli.

Ximba resigned from the SAPS in 2005 and he applied to be reappointed in 2007.

It is worrying that despite Ximba having a criminal record, the Ekurhuleni Mayor still hired him.

The ANC has a culture of employing people who either have criminal records or are being investigated for committing crimes in their structures to protect their patronage network at the expense of our people.

The same can be said about the appointment of Brain Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu to the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

The DA strongly condemns the appointment of people who are still under investigation and those that have been found guilty of committing crime.

This undermines the integrity of our legal system and its bodies that have been tasked with investigating these crimes.

The people of Ekurhuleni and Gauteng deserve change which appoints ethical and professional personnel who work to put the people first.

DA calls on MEC Nkosi-Malobane to investigate allegations of victims’ mistreatment at Ikhaya Lethemba shelter

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

It is disturbing that the Gauteng Department of Community Safety is labelling the allegations of mistreatment of the victims of domestic abuse and their children at Ikhaya Lethemba shelter in Braamfontein as ‘malicious’ instead of investigating these serious claims.

This facility which provides shelter to victims of gender-based violence and their children is operated by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety.

There are serious allegations of mistreatment, sexual abuse and physical abuse of nine women and their children by the staff members at this shelter.

There are also claims that mothers are given expired baby products to feed their children.

The victims allege that the upskilling courses that are provided to them at the centre are not accredited.

These allegations are distressing as it is occurring at a place of safety and during Women’s Month.

These women and children are once again subjected to abuse while trying to heal and move on with their lives.

The DA calls on the MEC for Community Safety to urgently investigate these allegations.

If these allegations are proven to be true, the MEC needs to ensure that those implicated face the full might of the law.

The DA strongly condemns such crimes, women abuse has no place in our society.

The victims of abuse deserve to be treated with dignity and not to be abused and humiliated by those who are supposed to protect and assist them.

The DA will be conducting an oversight inspection at this facility to assess the quality of services offered to the victims of domestic abuse.

It’s time for Change that keeps the most vulnerable members of our society safe.

MEC Nkosi-Malobane abandons Heidelberg Junior Traffic Training Centre

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

It is a disgrace that the Gauteng Department of Community Safety has abandoned the Junior Traffic Training Centre in Heidelberg which has been dysfunctional for almost five years now.

During the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) oversight inspection, we were shocked to discover that the centre is a white elephant.

This facility has been abandoned and it is evident that there has been no maintenance or upkeep over this 5 year period.

The traffic road signs are covered with weeds.

The classrooms are locked but are still equipped with desks and chairs.

Training manuals, road traffic signs and training uniforms are gathering dust in the storerooms.

The wall fencing is broken; the electric motor of the main gate, other electric boxes and the water fountain pumps have been stripped and stolen.

Photo …….here……here and here

The DA is concerned that this centre might be further vandalized and the remaining resources stolen as the facility is not being guarded.

It is shameful that this much needed facility that is meant to educate young children about road safety is standing empty and unused.

Considering the fact that pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in this province, this centre could serve a good purpose in educating children at a young age about pedestrian safety to save lives.

This raises serious concerns about the funds allocated to the Traffic Management Unit and its sub-programme of promoting road safety.

We will table questions to the Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi- Malobane in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, to determine why the centre has been abandoned, when it will be operational, how much money has been allocated for the running of the centre and on what its allocated budget has been spent.  The DA will also ask who owns the centre building and how much is owed in terms of utility bills.

By failing to ensure that this facility is operational the ANC-led Gauteng is failing on its mandate to educate our people about road safety.

43% of drunk driving cases pending due to forensic lab backlogs

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety

For the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, 53 414 drunk driving arrests were made across Gauteng, yet 22 915 (43%) cases have not been able to be concluded due to outstanding blood tests.

While in almost every arrest a blood test was conducted on the guilty driver, only 23 892 blood test results have been returned.

Gauteng has a high road mortality rate and every year the Minister of Transport paints a horrific picture of how this number continues to grow.

Expensive and elaborate Road Safety programmes are rolled out annually to no avail as those who break the law know that they will not face punitive action.

The slow pace of returning the results of blood tests backlogs the criminal justice system and in many cases delays justice.

If justice is delayed, lawlessness will continue to thrive.

I will write to the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to ascertain what steps she has taken to lobby her counterparts in national government to provide more resources to forensic laboratories in the province.

The deficiencies of the ANC government should not impact on the rights of ordinary citizens to stay safe and receive legal recourse from those who flaunt the law.

ANC-led Gauteng Government fails to maintain Daveyton hostels

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Constituency Head Benoni

Despite numerous attempts by the Democratic Alliance to pressure the ANC-led Gauteng government to improve the living conditions of Daveyton hostel residents, very little has been done.

During a DA oversight inspection to the hostel yesterday, conducted by the DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Mbulelo Bara MP, DA Constituency Head Benoni, Michele Clarke MPL and DA Ekurhuleni Councillors, we were shocked and disappointed to discover that only two blocks of the hostels have had the roofs replaced, and that the solar geysers installed are not working.

The geysers are leaking and residents claim that even though they have reported this, nothing has been done to fix them. This shoddy workmanship is totally unacceptable as the contractors have already been paid.

It is alleged that the City of Ekurhuleni is unable to trace the contractors as they have vanished leaving the work incomplete.

This raises questions about the tender system as well as the monitoring and evaluation of projects by government.

There is no proper maintenance at the hostels. The building structure is old and dilapidated. The ceilings are broken, the laundry area is dirty and there are no cleaners to clean the hostels which poses a health risk.

The DA in Ekurhuleni will be tabling a motion in council regarding the living conditions in the hostels.  At provincial level, we will also be tabling a motion and submit questions. Our counterparts in Parliament will also submit a report about hostels to the Minister of Human Settlements requesting an urgent intervention in this matter.

Hostel residents deserve access to dignified housing and basic services which the ANC has failed to deliver for the past twenty-four years.

The DA will continue to put pressure on government to deliver proper services and housing to hostel residents.

Department of Community Safety not doing enough to curb crime in Gauteng

By Michele Clarke MPL, DA Spokesperson for Community Safety

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered during the 2018/2019 Budget Vote for the Department of Community Safety

Madam Speaker,

Can we honestly say that the Gauteng Provincial Community Safety Department has played a critical role in reducing crime and keeping our roads safe in our Province?  When analysing our budget, the answer is no. Why do I say this?  We are a province marred by daily horrific criminal incidents and carnage on our roads, statistics reflect increases year on year and this Government, in this province, is not able to proactively address the situation.

The community in Gauteng is forever fearful and we do not live in an environment in which communities can reach their full potential as they do not feel safe and do not have any confidence in the current law enforcement agencies.

The Community Safety department’s budget fails to address its core function and mandate within the Civilian Secretariat Programme; this programme’s function is to exercise oversight over law enforcement agencies and to ensure the safety of the citizens of this province, although, for the first time in the past five years the department has managed to spend its budget but only managed to reach 79% of its targets.

This is clearly a department that cannot plan properly in terms of its KPIs and fiscal management.  The non-financial performance of the department must align with the budget and safety strategy of the province; but, once again, year on year, this is not the case and the department will fail to meet it objectives.  The inability to implement a coordinated approach between law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system, highlighting the fact that the criminal justice coordinating committee established by the department of community safety bears no outcomes in terms of its functionality.

Cash-in-transit heists is just one of the crimes that has had a massive negative effect on the province.  159 heists have occurred in the past six months, increasing ‘crimes linked to explosives’ use by 300%.  Research has shown that the perpetrators are dangerous and violent criminals linked to the top structures of police, magistrates, prosecutors and metro police.  They are highly sophisticated in terms of planning, driving skills and the ability to handle firearms.  They can secure high powered ammunition and explosives through corrupted law enforcement agents.

Madam Speaker,

Programme three:  Traffic management only managed to reach a 92% expenditure level. Important operational targets in terms of drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving and pedestrian operations – which are three key components that are linked to fatal road statistics, were not met.   The Gauteng Traffic Department is under-resourced and underutilized and as such, cannot win the fight against poor driver behaviour, moving violations and clamping down on illegal drivers.  The current situation is concerning as the Gauteng Traffic Department will never realize its 50% reduction as set down in its own targets.

The extent of corruption in the police service is out of control; the impunity that allows it to flourish is due to a Government that simply does not have the political will or ability to make the difference that is needed. The appropriate sanctioning of perpetrators is required if this conduct is to be deterred.  The establishment of an independent mechanism for reporting corruption within the SAPS, including reports from civil society organizations, is urgently needed.  We need more transparent processes in the appointment of key police officials as laid out in the NDP including performance indicators for improving integrity and ethic compliances within SAPS.  It is critical that we establish a Community Safety Ombudsman, as such an Ombudsman has played a critical role within the Western Cape in terms of transparent policing.

As the Gauteng Provincial Government, we must ensure that all people in Gauteng feel safe, and this is not the case in our province. Government needs to exercise a complete overhaul of the SAPS if the community of this province is to gain confidence in the criminal justice system.  This can only be realized if we appoint professional leadership in all criminal justice departments and law enforcement agencies.  We must stop the damaging political interference that has characterized the current system.




MEC protects police over Eersterus protesters

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

It is very disappointing that the Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane is defending the police’s actions of violence that injured many residents during the Eersterus service delivery protest.

The MEC was responding to my oral questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature yesterday, when she sarcastically labelled the protestors as ‘peaceful’.

According to the MEC Nkosi-Malobane the protestors were violent, having barricaded the roads thereby blocking all entrances to and from Eersterus. Protesters were also physically attacking people and damaging their cars and properties. They broke into the Eersterus police station, disarmed the police at the Client Service Centre, damaged SAPS property and stole items. The protestors also looted the shops around the area.

We dispute the MEC’s claims as the Democratic Alliance has been reliably informed that the protest was indeed peaceful until the police fired rubber bullets and teargas at the protestors. The protestors retaliated by throwing stones at the police.

There were about 129 police officers and 40 public order police officers deployed during the protest.

This raises questions about the adequacy of training that the police receive as the MEC indicated that all police officers are trained in public order policing, and yet appeared to be ill-equipped to deal with the Eersterus protesters in non-violent manner.

So far 16 of the protesters have been arrested for possession of stolen property and drugs.

While we strongly condemn any violence and criminality by protesters, it is essential that our police officers are capacitated to maintain order during any public gathering in a peaceful and effective manner.

The DA calls on the MEC to investigate the conduct of the police during this protest. If it’s found that the police did not follow the correct public order procedures, then swift action needs to be taken against these individuals.

Heidelberg Junior Traffic Training Centre a white elephant

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

The Democratic Alliance is concerned that the Junior Traffic Training Centre in Heidelberg has been dysfunctional for almost five years.

This centre, which is well equipped with necessary resources such as classrooms and offices, has been abandoned by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety.

Training manuals, road traffic signs and training uniforms are gathering dust in the storerooms.

This raises concerns about the funds allocated to the Traffic Management unit and its sub-programme of promoting road safety.

It is clear that this department has failed to take ownership of this centre as they are mandated to do.

The abandonment of this centre raises questions about this department’s efforts in promoting road safety education amongst primary school learners.

The school safety programme plays a critical role in educating our children about road safety and road signs. This will help to reduce pedestrian fatalities as children will be equipped with road safety knowledge from a young age.

The DA will conduct an oversight inspection to this centre to assess its condition and to determine why it is not functioning.

We will also table questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to determine why the centre has been abandoned, when it will be operational, how much money has been allocated for the running of the centre and on what its allocated budget has been spent.

SAPS used to transport food for ANC in Ward 85 by-election

by Michele Clarke MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) have been witnessed dropping off food for ANC party agents at the Ward 85 by-election in Johannesburg.

The SAPS vehicle, registration number BTK 140 B, handed out these parcels at the Gerefordemeerde Church voting station in Florida Park.

While crime spirals out of control in Gauteng, SAPS officers are being used as a delivery service rather than fighting crime.

Yesterday, it was alleged that Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane verbally threatened SAPS officers with physical abuse should they arrest her son who is wanted for abuse.

It is apparent that the ANC is abusing its power to use state resources to further their own ends.

I will question MEC Nkosi-Malobane about this and ensure that there are consequences for this blatant abuse of power.

The ANC cannot do what it pleases and must be held to account for its wrong-doing.