The DA has slammed the new South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill after it was recently published for public comment.
DA MP Okkie Terblanche said on Monday the party would oppose the SAPS Amendment Bill as it believed the bill was “flawed”.
“We believe this draft bill is, at best, flawed and at worst represents an attempt to affect an unconstitutional power grab by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele. We will oppose this bill with all the means at our disposal,” Terblanche said in a statement.
Terblanche said the drafted bill professed to align the existing SAPS Act with the Constitution.
“However, in going about creating a single police service it erodes the constitutionally-mandated powers of provincial, municipal and community policing structures,” he said.
“The bill in effect strips provincial and local governments of decision making and planning powers, while requiring them to continue bearing the bulk of the responsibilities associated with policing in their areas, including assuming civil liability and taking care of funding and equipping.”
He argued the bill would give power to the minister to interfere in provincial and municipal policing matters, which was a concern for the DA.
“The DA is of the belief that policing should be increasingly devolved, not centralised.
“In order to effectively fight crime we need a police force that is nimble enough to adjust to the unique circumstances of each province or community, rather than a one-size fits-all bureaucracy in which crime fighting strategies, policies and priorities are determined nationally by politicians far removed from the daily realities of ordinary South Africans.
“The ANC government has consistently failed to combat crime effectively and this bill, by centralising powers at the national level, is a step in the wrong, rather than the right, direction,” the MP said.
Terblanche further said the DA urged the public to submit their comments on the bill as a matter of urgency.
Comments should be submitted by no later than 14 November 2020 and must be addressed in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post for the attention Dr PC Jacobs at Civilian Secretariat for Police, Private Bag X922, Pretoria.