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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

SAPS has ‘comprehensive plan’ to combat crime, Mashatile tells parliament

Here are some take-aways from the deputy president's question and answer session in parliament.

Deputy President Paul Mashatile says the South African Police Service (SAPS) has a comprehensive plan to combat the country’s high crime rate.

Mashatile on Thursday responded to questions about his role as the leader of government business in the National Assembly and chairperson of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cabinet Committee.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu asked Mashatile if he had engaged Police Minister Bheki Cele on the high rate of crime in the country and the police’s “incapacity” to deal with it.

In response, Mashatile said the SAPS had a plan to combat crime in the country, which included the continuous training of SAPS members.

“A total of 1,000 of the newly recruited personnel have been ringfenced to increase the capacity of public order policing, who by the end of October received an additional 4,000 members resulting from this recruitment drive,” said Mashatile.

“The ministry currently is implementing Operation Shanela, a comprehensive plan to combat crime throughout the country. The plan includes clamping down, amongst others, on illegal mining and other serious crimes.

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“The South African Police Service has established specialised units to work with business, private security, state-owned enterprises to tackle illegal mining, the construction mafia, cable theft, the vandalism of economic infrastructure and also gender-based violence.”

Student funding and TVET colleges

More questions arose regarding the ANC manifesto – of free education and the #FeesMustFall protest.

Most students in higher education are supported by Nsfas, with up to 80% of students supported in some institutions.

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With the expansion of the household income threshold to R350,000, Mashatile said students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, would continue to receive financial support.

The deputy president also encouraged young people to pursue higher education studies at TVET colleges, as the qualifications awarded by them provide work opportunities.

PM Munzoor Shaik Emam responded that there is a 60% dropout at TVET colleges in the first year, and another 30% who pass only go on to fail mathematics.

He also said these colleges did not address the country’s skills needs.

“The problem is… [TVETs’] curriculum is based on the availability of lecturers.”

In response, Mashatile said children should be invested in from the early childhood development stage.

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“I agree that in recent years we have experienced quite a high number of children dropping out of school, so it is important we prepare them as best as possible,” the deputy president said, adding that this would help avoid dropping out.

Service delivery war rooms

National government is the last resort when service delivery war rooms and interventions fail a community, said Mashatile.

Mashatile said district-based service delivery war rooms identify service delivery hotspots, develop plans to deal with these, and intensify the implementation of these plans.

“It also ensures policy coherence, unlocking bottlenecks to fast-track service delivery… it is improving the safety and security of communities by providing early-warning and quick-wind responses mechanisms in areas with service delivery problems,” he said.

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Mashatile said outreaches had been done through these war rooms, including in North West Province, Gauteng, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. The remaining provinces will be visited, he said.

Follow-up questions from parliament members looked at service delivery failures even after intervention plans were drawn and re-drawn in areas that seemed to lack support more than others.

“When that fails, section 139 comes in… and that can also fail… that is when I think national government should come in to intervene,” Mashatile responded.

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“We have done that in areas when people didn’t have water. Instead of spending time thinking who should be the next mayor, national government goes straight [to] the ground and provides water and such services.”

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