Western Cape premier Alan Winde. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Western Cape premier Alan Winde. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The Western Cape provincial government has  allocated R1bn to fight crime in the popular tourism region, which has a murder rate almost double the national average.

Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday that the province will recruit and train 3,000 law-enforcement officers, starting with the first 1,000 this year. In addition, the government will implement a social plan aimed at preventing youths from joining gangs, blamed for many of the 3,974 murders recorded in the province in the 12 months through March.

“The SA Police Service, which is mandated to keep communities safe, is unable to do its job,” Winde said in an e-mailed statement. In terms of the country’s constitution, provinces may have their own law enforcement agencies in addition to the national police force.

The Western Cape’s murder rate is 58 per 100,000 of the population, compared with a national average of 36, according to a report released by the police last week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the deployment of more than 1,200 soldiers to the Western Cape to support the police in combating gang warfare in areas around Cape Town.

Crime in the city, which boast some of SA’s most-visited tourist attractions, has made headlines in recent months. In July, the luxurious Mount Nelson Hotel was robbed by a gang of 15 armed men, and later that same month a tourist from the Ukraine was stabbed to death while hiking in the Table Mountain national reserve.