Gauteng not smart enough in fighting crime, says premier

Gauteng is a smart province, but has not been smart enough in dealing with crime, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Wednesday.

Mokonyane, who took some time out from an ongoing provincial executive committee meeting in Johannesburg, to speak about the agenda, was responding to crime statistics released on Tuesday by the Police Ministry.

Gauteng showed an increase in house robberies and burglaries, while murder and attempted murder had decreased.

Mokonyane said the decreased crimes were still as much a concern as those that showed increases because the numbers were still high.

She said she would not be putting pressure on the police minister to give the province more resources because it had all it needed to fight crime.

These included three metro police departments and private security companies in addition to the South Africa Police Service (SAPS).

“Despite the high number of security and three metro police [departments] as a smart province we have not been smart enough in dealing with crime,” she said.

Mokonyane said the committee was also concerned about the increase in violent attacks occurring in schools and said the province would be reviewing its schools safety programme to address the issue.

She further called on the police to increase their efforts in securing schools to ensure no one entered them with weapons.

“We have three metro police departments who should be supporting us,” she said.

Mokonyane said the metro departments needed to work under the police and that they had to be commanded by the SAPS and not focus only on traffic.

“The metro police were established under the SAPS command and we need to go back and check what they can do and they must cooperate and comply,” she said.

She said the command and control which the metro police fell under also needed to be restated together with what was expected of them for a difference to be made.

The committee would meet with the police National Commissioner, Bheki Cele, to discuss other means to fight crime.

“Gauteng cannot be policed the same way it was done back then, not even [the way it was done just] five years ago. We must bring the integrity of police back.

“We must also demonstrate that those arrested get prosecuted and do time,” Mokonyane said.

The days of various anti-crime operations conducted by the metro police, SAPS and security companies independent of each other were numbered.

Other items on the committee’s agenda were the cash flow problems experienced by some government departments and the settlement of municipal accounts by November 2009.

The upcoming Car Free Day, which would highlight the benefits of using public transport, and Operation Bandala aimed at ensuring that service providers were paid on time, were also being discussed.—Sapa

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