Cape Town Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith put the blame on national government for poor policing in gang-ridden areas in the Cape Flats.
“People are dying and the bodies are piling up. Who is to blame? Who controls these resources? They’re under the exclusive control of the national minister,” he said during a media briefing on Thursday.
In a meeting on 27 September when Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed Cape Flats community leaders and members of the Shutdown movement, both Smith and Bonteheuwel ward Councillor Angus McKenzie were booted out. Some supporters of the Shutdown movement claimed that the City was responsible for the behaviour of police during wide protests against gang violence in which 13 protesters were arrested.
Smith said it was “extremely dishonest” to target two City representatives and blame them for the arrests of protesters “when in fact those were evidently performed by SAPS” said Smith.
He said all public order policing interventions were done on the instructions of SAPS.
“It’s time for national government to assign the policing function to province so that province can do it properly,” he said.
According to Smith, 4,502 police officers had been removed from the Western Cape over the last four years, and the conviction rate for gang-related violence was only 3%.
He said the City would add an additional R66 million to the police budget this year. But Metro police could not take over “the broken function of policing” or make communities safe, he said.