ANC seizes on Max appointment to rub DA noses in rampant Western Cape crime

DA MPL Lennit Max.
DA MPL Lennit Max.
Image: Ambrose Peters/The Times

Police Minister Bheki Cele’s decision to appoint Lennit Max as his special adviser has given the ANC a microphone to sing its own praises.

The ruling party’s election machinery was jump-started on Tuesday after the DA member of the Western Cape provincial legislature announced that Cele had confirmed him in the post.

Max‚ a former provincial police commissioner and former community safety MEC‚ said on Monday he had quit the legislature for a one-year contract with Cele.

He said the DA leadership had declined to deploy him in any provincial crime-fighting initiative – and being a trained cop‚ this frustrated him. He said his new role was effective from July 1‚ but he remained a DA member.

The ANC wasted no time in capitalising on the appointment. The party’s provincial big guns‚ including acting chairman Khaya Magaxa‚ former premier and head of elections Ebrahim Rasool and former community safety MEC Leonard Ramatlakane‚ described Max’s appointment as proof of the DA’s lack of interest in fighting crime in the Western Cape.

“The statement by Lennit Max affirms our long-held belief that the DA has very little to offer in solving crime‚ but spends more time‚ effort and resolutions in politicising crime in the province than actually solving it‚” said Magaxa.

“If we look at the DA’s track record on crime in the Western Cape over the past decade‚ since it assumed government and premiership under [Helen] Zille‚ all we have witnessed is a lesser government involvement in the fight against crime. Zille and her cabinet believe their sole mandate in the fight against crime is as oversight agents‚ nothing more.”

Magaxa said the ANC’s record when it governed the province between 1999 and 2009 eclipsed the DA’s crime-fighting efforts. He said the party mobilised and funded community crime-fighting initiatives and employed more than 8‚000 volunteers to complement the police through the Bambanani programme.

These volunteers‚ he said‚ patrolled schools‚ protected train commuters and ensured security on farms. He said the ANC also started the high-flyers project focusing on the province’s top 200 criminals.

“In 2003/2004‚ contact crime was reduced by 18%; in 2004/2005‚ contact crime was reduced by 2% [and] in 2005/2006‚ contact crime was reduced by 27%‚” said Magaxa.

Rasool said: “He [Max] has come out to say the DA is not interested in fighting crime in the Western Cape. We have not come to celebrate as the ANC but to know why the crime statistics have escalated. [The DA’s] calculated ineffectiveness and callousness has been exposed.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane visited Nyanga police station on Tuesday alongside provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and community safety MEC Dan Plato. He accused the ruling party of failing to prioritise crime-fighting in poor areas.

“Here is the truth: this ANC government does not care about crime in poor communities‚” said Maimane.

“Because people who live in these communities are hardest hit by violent crime‚ they are also the people who receive the least protection from the this government. Nowhere is this more clear than in a place like Nyanga.

“This police station here in Nyanga serves a community that suffers the worst assault from violent criminals anywhere in South Africa‚ and yet it remains completely under-resourced. I can assure you a DA national government would not do this.”

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