Working together: Fire ravages the Overberg mountains in the Western Cape in 2016. Picture: SUPPLIED
Working together: Fire ravages the Overberg mountains in the Western Cape in 2016. Picture: SUPPLIED

In May 331 murders were recorded in the Western Cape, compared with 304 murders in May 2018. That is more than 10 murders per day — lives cut short by violence. 

The fact that murder numbers have increased year on year is deeply concerning and points to systemic failures by the police to curb crime and violence. The anti-gang unit, introduced with much fanfare in November 2018, has resulted in some arrests, but it is clearly having little impact on the murder rate.

The police are woefully under-resourced in the Western Cape. The police to population ratio in the province is one for every 509 people. In the Cape Town metro this is even higher at 1:560, against a national average of 1:375. The Western Cape police are having to investigate 10 new murders per day, in addition to the thousands of other crimes that make up their caseloads.

In addition to visible policing in communities and on the ground, this province also desperately requires additional crime intelligence resources. As a province we are doing everything we can by equipping neighbourhood watches and instituting watching briefs to monitor the court process after an arrest has been made. But the reality is that without an effective police service, we cannot make progress towards reducing the murder rate.

That is why I am pursuing an intergovernmental dispute with national police minister Bheki Cele. If he won’t take action himself, as head of the SA Police Service he must be compelled to allocate the resources this province needs. While moving resources to where they are most needed is a valuable first step, one we have proposed previously, we must take our heads out of the sand and acknowledge that crime is out of control across the province and we simply do not have enough officers on the ground.

People are being killed. Families are losing breadwinners and children. All of this while gangsters and other violent criminals go unpunished. 

Alan Winde
Premier, Western Cape