Parties pass the buck

Zakhele Mbhele.

Green Point and Sea Point residents gathered at the Bridge Club in Green Point last week to engage with the DA spokesman for police Zakhele Mbhele and the City’s mayoral member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith on the issue of crime and safety.

The meeting was part of the DA’s “Let’s Talk” campaign.

Mr Mbhele said the good thing about crime was that it could be reduced and tackled, however, the bad thing was that the South African Police Service (SAPS) was run by the national government.

“There has been at least 12 years of mismanagement of SAPS by people who do not know what they are doing. Crime intelligence is in crisis and national government appointed family, friends and their cronies and safe houses for witness protection were wrongly used as holiday houses,” he alleged.

Mr Mbhele said challenges facing SAPS were under-staffing, under-resourcing, and under-training. Adding to Mr Mbhele’s comments, Mr Smith said the province had been set up for failure, and that he had asked premier Helen Zille to take national government to court to force it to give them a fair amount of resources.

“As local government, we find ourselves in an awkward situation. We are pulled into doing the job that SAPS is not doing, we neglect our primary constitutional job,” said Mr Smith.

He said national government was starving them of resources, making it difficult for the province to win the battle against crime, and were putting communities at risk.

“We have to ensure that national government does their constitutional job and in this case, it means dragging them into court,” he said.

But the ANC’s spokesman in the Western Cape, Yonela Diko, said it was easy for the DA to blame the national government when they were the ones who were failing.

“Yes, SAPS is run by the national government but Section 206 of the constitution states that the province has a responsibility to, among other things, monitor police conduct and oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service,” he

“When the problem is easy, the provincial government is happy to take it, when things get hard, they throw it back to the national government. They exist for leisure and want the national government to do everything,” Mr Diko said.