Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen
Crime affects all of us in many different ways, some of us have been victims of crime while others live in fear of becoming a victim.
The DA has a vision for South Africa where we all can be whoever we want to be through reaching our potential.
However, individuals cannot reach their potential and take advantage of opportunities if they live in fear. When we constrain individuals in pursuing their life goals, we are constraining the well-being of communities. Personal safety is a prerequisite for creating an environment in which South Africans can thrive.
South Africans still do not feel safe
Whilst there has been moderate success in reducing crime levels in the country since 1994, South Africans still do not feel safe nor do they trust that their property is safe from crime. The Victims of Crime Survey published by Statistics South Africa in 2012, showed that more than 1 in 3 households avoid going into open spaces unaccompanied because of their fear of crime, almost 1 in 4 households would not allow their children to play unsupervised by an older person or play freely in their area. Only 14% of households felt safe to walk around in their area in the dark.
My colleague Dianne Kohler-Barnard will explain what the DA would do when we are in power and when she becomes the Minister of Police. So I would like to focus specifically on the Norkem Park police station.
In Birch Acres we have seen an increase in house breakings, car hijackings and theft
Here in Birch Acres we have seen an increase in house breakings, car hijackings and theft out of and of motor vehicles. The very place we all should feel the safest – our homes are now becoming fortresses with high walls, electric fences, alarms, security cameras, security beams.
This is certainly not how we should be living and it certainly is not the vision the DA has for South Africa.
We visited the police station earlier today in order to find out what the current situation is on the ground. I must also point out that I ask many questions in Parliament with regards to our local police stations, so the facts I am going to reveal tonight are a combination of both.
The Norkem Park, now services 73 249 residents with 121 uniform officers and 16 civilians, resulting in a ratio of one police officer for every 605 residents.
Despite the station having to service additional areas such as Edleen and Birch Acres Exts, we still only have three sectors with just one vehicle for visible policing for every shift.
Birch Acres falls into Sector two which also includes the suburbs of Norkem Park, Birchleigh North and now Greenfields – Birch Acres Exts.
The station has a total of 35 vehicles and eight of them are currently in the workshop – that is nearly a quarter. What this means is that vehicles are moved from different divisions in order to ensure that visible policing is not affected. Seven of the eight vehicles currently out of commission are from visible policing.
The lack of vehicles affects the police’s ability to respond
Unfortunately when police vehicles go to the mechanical workshop they are not repaired speedily, a parliamentary reply indicated the following: As far as vehicles from Norkem Park are concerned, some of those vehicles where there on average for 80 days!
The lack of vehicles affects the police’s ability to respond to crimes and to conduct investigations.
I would like to read out some of the reasons given to me – the replacing of a cylinder head, for example, had taken 313 days, an simple inspection 72 days and one vehicle has been at the workshop for 74 days with no work code being allocated to it and 84 days for an exhaust replacement.
The 38 detectives have to share 15 vehicles – well 14 as one is currently out of action, they have between 80 – 90 cases each and some over 100 cases they have to investigate.
So ladies and gentleman I asked what would the ideal situation be in order to combat crime I was told ideally we would need an additional three sectors – so six in total with two vehicles patrolling during each shift, but that ladies and gentlemen will take political commitment and prioritization.
That is why our Ward 13 branch with the leadership of Councillor Allan Sauls and his Chairperson initiated a petition specifically for Sector 2 for better resources, Dianne and I will be handing it into Parliament once we re-open.
Out of the 121 police officers 79 failed their competence shooting test
But before I conclude I would like to leave you with one concerning fact, every year our men and women in blue have to go for a shooting competency test, this is to ensure that their accuracy is spot on when shooting at people and that innocent people are not injured.
So out of the 121 police officers 79 failed their competence shooting test, that is just over 65% of the police officers at Norkem Park police station should not be carrying firearms. This is extremely serious for many reasons and I intend to take it up with the Minister as a matter of urgency that is a promise I give you all tonight.
Mike Waters MP
DA Deputy Chief Whip in Parliament
082 902 4523