South African Police Service (SAPS) contradictory statements: time to bring back specialised units
9 Feb 2012
Recent admissions by Western Cape Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, of a failure to arrest the drug and gang related violence in the Western Cape show that General Lamoer must now advise the National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa to re-introduce specialised police drug and gang units to the Western Cape.
Following my repeated calls for the re-establishment of the units, the General stated last year that the crime situation in the Western Cape was ‘under control’ and advised the national Minister that specialised units were not necessary. Indeed, Minister Mthethwa said last December that, “we should fight crime and I have been assured by the provincial commissioner that right now, there is no need for a gang unit.”
However, yesterday General Lamoer, on the issue of the rise of drug trafficking in the Western Cape, specifically the confiscation of R12 billion worth of drugs over the past 22 months said, “It is just the tip of the iceberg. If you can confiscate that much drugs, you expect these things must go down but that is not the case.” He also told Parliament that the drug trade in the Western Cape was a major driver of crime figures and that the Province had the highest instances of drug crimes.
This appears to be an admission that the existing methods used by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape are not working to curb gang and drug related violence in our communities.
General Lamoer further acknowledged that violent crime and gangsterism are fuelled by drugs and that, “if we can stop the drugs, crime will come down radically and people will be safe.”
The best way to make the people of the Western Cape safe from drugs and gangs is through targeted, sustained and specialised interventions. It is well known that drugs are the life-blood of gangs. Specialised units have been identified as a policing need and priority for the Western Cape by Cabinet and are necessary if we are to tackle drugs and gangs effectively.
I will write to General Lamoer to ask whether in light of these admissions, he will now advise the National Minister to reinstate these units in the Western Cape.
MEC of Community Safety
Cell: 076 832 5505
Spokesperson for MEC Dan Plato
Cell: 072 623 4499
Issued by: Western Cape Community Safety
9 Feb 2012
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