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Portfolio Committee together with the Department of Community Safety Urges Communities to get Involved in Combating Crime
28/01/2015

The Portfolio Committee on Public Works, Roads, Transport and Community Safety urged the Department of Community Safety and Transport to embark on awareness campaign to sensitize communities about policing as a societal issue and not only a responsibilityof the police.

This was said during a meeting held between the committee and the MEC for the department, MEC Gaoage Oageng Molapisi and the senior management of the department at the North West Legislature.

The department together with the management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were requested brief the committee on the status quo of the general activities on crime as well as Community Police Forums (CPF))and their functionality.

The department was also requested to give a brief report on the status quo report for new operations on scholar transport and status quo report for Traffic Officer College and recruitment.

The Chairperson of the committee, Hon. Jeanett Dibetso-Nyathi saw it as a necessary exercise looking at the high number of crimes that have increased over the years particularly around the areas of Rustenburg, Brits, Klerksdorp and Mmabatho especially contact crimes, house and armed robberies.

"Everyone must get involved and also ensure that our communities have confidence in our policing system.

Our communities must take part in assisting and reporting crime. There should also be a way to forge relationship between the police and communities to provide safer environment for all," said Hon. Nyathi.

The MEC for the department, MEC Molapisi, stated during the presentation that the programmes put in place in ensuring public safety are not enough if the community does not want to get involved.

Amongst the challenges stated was that the Justice department also needs to be more strict in handling cases of crime; police officers who commit crime should be heavily sentenced; most local municipalities do not have bi-laws, which puts most local businesses such as spaza/tuck shops at risk of crime committed against them as their businesses are not regulated in most cases; and that some CPF's are not united and strengthened enough to assist the SAPS.

"We need to strongly and vigorously embark on effective public education and teach our communities to work with the police in combating crime,"said MEC Molapisi

The SAPS stated that Rustenburg area has been prioritised as the focal point on community relations to combat crime. This is a result of foreign nationals who cross South African borders illegally and cannot be identified due to non-compliance by home affairs. It becomes difficult for the SAPS to trace them when crimes are committed by them or against them.

The Committee also highlighted to the department that there needs to be a review of policies and regulations on the road and scholar transport having proper guidelines.

The chairperson emphasised that the appointed contracted operators must play a role in ensuring that scholars arrive safely at school and that they are protected as they are also parents.

This comes as a result of the non-governance between functions belonging to the Department of Education and the Department of Community Safety and Transport. The monitoring mechanism has to be allocated to rectify issues of overloading and operators on contract with non-compliance.

The committee was mostly pleased with the efforts the department takes to improve the lives of our communities and working hard in ensuring a safe environment for our communities.

In concluding the meeting, Hon. Nyathi stated that reports on crime by police, role of CPF and boards and security agencies would be discussed in the next meeting.

 


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