South Africa’s Western Cape province on Monday took a further step in its dispute with Police Minister Bheki Cele for his failure to respond to policing needs in the province, administered by the opposition.
The province announced July 4 as a date suitable for a mediation meeting after Cele turned a deaf ear to demands for more policing resources to deal with rising crime in communities, Western Cape Premier Alan Wide said.
“In that meeting, we will determine the precise nature of the dispute, identify mechanisms other than the courts to resolve the dispute and then agree on a mechanism and its implementation,” Winde said.
Winde said he had written to Cele in October and again in December last year detailing the urgent policing needs of the province and finally, after no response to those letters, instituted an inter-governmental dispute in April.
Cele has once again failed to respond, Winde said.
“This extended period of silence now allows us to unilaterally decide on a date for a mediation meeting to take place,” said Winde.
He said Cele had been given opportunity to avoid costly and lengthy litigation, but his window was closing.
Winde urged Cele to take it up before it’s too late.
“Our residents deserve his cooperation, but all we’ve received to date is stony silence. I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that this province has the resources in order to make it safer for our citizens,” Winde said.
Among all nine provinces in the country, the Western Cape is the only one that is run by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
The DA accuses the central government of deliberately allocating fewer policing resources to the Western Cape, which is in short of 4,500 police officers, according to Winde.
Due to the lack of policing resources, the Western Cape has seen a rapid rise in crimes over the past few years.
In this past weekend, the province experienced “far too many instances of gang violence” in the communities with an alleged 14 fatalities in a period of 24 hours, Winde said.
“Our people live in fear, and our young people are under attack,” he said.
“As a province, we are stretching our oversight role as far as we possibly can, but without effective enforcement, driven by police numbers, crime intelligence and proper management, crime is going to continue to run rampant in both our urban and our rural areas,” Winde said. Enditem