Crime top of the agenda as DA kicks off KZN election campaign

: DA supporters protest against crime at the launch of the party's Kwazulu Natal election campaign on Saturday
: DA supporters protest against crime at the launch of the party's Kwazulu Natal election campaign on Saturday
Image: Suthentira Govender

DA leader Mmusi Maimane launched his party's provincial election campaign outside the police headquarters in Durban on Saturday where hundreds of party loyalits gathered in protest against crime.

The main thrust of the demonstration was to highlight a recent directive from the provincial police command instructing station commanders not to allow unannounced oversight visits by members of parliament and not to share any information with public representatives.

Addressing his supporters‚ Maimane said oversight inspections have been conducted for decades.

"The effect of this oversight has always been an improvement of the conditions‚ the equipment or morale at the stations in question. Oversight is not a finger-pointing exercise. It is a thorough assessment of where the gaps exist and what can be done to fill them.

"We will not allow petty politics and ego to get in the way of the important work our public reps do. This is not about point scoring. This is about trying to keep people safe by ensuring that their local police are able to respond to crime and apprehend criminals‚" Maimane said

He gave the police 14 days to respond to a memorandum he presented to Sabelo Kunene‚ a representative of the provincial department of community safety and liaison.

The DA‚ in the memorandum‚ said it rejected the directive‚ adding that it was a "clear violation of the rights of South African citizens to be informed".

The party demanded that the directive be immediately retracted.

Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Jay Naicker said in response to a media query from TimesLIVE recently that the acting provincial commissioner‚ Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi had responded to concerns by station commanders and stated that "the SAPS is a government department and it must account to the South African public but such can only be done through parliament and/or the legislature. No private entity including political parties‚ NGOs etc are permitted to conduct official oversight visits at a government department including the SAPS unless permission is granted by the Minister of Police".

Kunene said that the department would respond in two weeks’ time.

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