Cele gets a 40-page Zille zinger over policing in Cape Town

Helen Zille
Image: Esa Alexander.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has sent a 40-page letter to Police Minister Bheki Cele demanding extra police in the province.

If Cele did not respond satisfactorily‚ Zille told a Cape Town media conference‚ she would declare an intergovernmental dispute that would have to be resolved in court.

Zille made clear on Wednesday that she had reached the end of her tether with the allocation of police resources to the Western Cape‚ where murders were up 12.6% in a year in the latest crime statistics but where the number of police is half the national average in some cases.

“We have scoured legislation and the constitution‚ we have passed our own laws and we have stretched our constitutional mandate of oversight and partnerships to the limit‚” she said.

“It’s all had a profound effect‚ and we can correlate improvements in crime patterns with interventions we’ve made.

“But the one job only the police can do — investigating crimes and gathering evidence to secure convictions — has become the weakest link in the criminal justice chain.”

Zille’s letter to Cele‚ which gives him 30 days to respond‚ demands:

- Extra police for the Western Cape;

- Confirmation that “critical police posts” identified by the Public Service Commission would be filled within six months;

- A pledge that the extra officers will be allocated to the priority areas of gang crime‚ rail safety‚ attacks on schools‚ protection of infrastructure and ambulance crews‚ and public order;

- Acceptance of the Western Cape’s offer to pay for the recruitment of extra police reservists; and

- Acceptance of an offer by the Western Cape to send in its own staff to help with police station administration work.

Zille‚ who has around eight months left as premier‚ was flanked by Alan Winde‚ who will succeed her as premier if the DA wins next year’s provincial election‚ and community safety MEC Dan Plato‚ who is due to take over as mayor of Cape Town in three weeks.

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