Opposition parties in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature say they are open to collaborating and putting heads together in the fight against crime, especially political killings in the province.
This is after the DA in the province announced its anti-crime campaign, which included an invitation for a sit-down round-table strategy dialogue with other political parties represented in the legislature.
The leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Francois Rodgers, announced the party’s planned efforts at a media briefing in Ntuzuma, Durban, on Wednesday.
Rodgers said the campaign aimed at finding ways to address the rampant criminality overwhelming the province.
“KZN’s recently released crime statistics for April to June 2023 revealed a horrifying average of 17 people murdered and 21 people raped daily. This while Inanda and Umlazi remain South Africa’s murder and rape capitals.
“Crime is out of control and has the ability to devastate our province. We must act,” said Rodgers.
He said the DA had written to parties represented in the legislature to strategise a way forward in addressing ongoing political killings.
I suggested to the premier during the state of the province debate that political parties need to sit together and have round-table discussions to discuss how we can fight the scourge of political killings in the province, and my suggestion was snubbed.
“Such discussions are tabled in the Moerane Commission to address political assassinations in KZN.
“Despite this, political killings have continued unabated, with 18 political murders in the last year,” he said.
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The ANC KZN chief whip, James Nxumalo, told The Witness that his party was open to such discussions; however, he said he had not seen the letter sent by the DA yet.
“Of course fighting crime is the responsibility of all of us regardless of what political party you represent and, as the ANC, we are against crimes such as political killings.
“If such a letter had been sent to the ANC in the legislature, we wouldn’t have any issues with such suggestions or invitations coming from the DA to help fight crime,” he said.
IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said he had received the letter from the DA and will be looking at its recommendations.
“I have just seen the letter a few minutes ago. The issue of crime is an issue that affects everyone and a joint effort is important,” he said.
We are still going to look at the letter and announce then what we will do in response.
“If the government is not doing any-thing to fight crime, we as opposition parties can and should take charge,” he added.
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The DA also said its anti-crime campaign will include the engagement of the community policing forums and civil society groups.
“The DA in KZN will now look to formalise a programme that offers support to CPFs and will meet with existing structures soon to discuss the way forward.
“Our intention is to build a strong pact to ensure that CPFs and SAPS are given the tools to do their jobs and begin to establish the relationship that is critical to success,” Rodgers said.