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ACDP: ACDP calls for Prevention of Organised Crime Act to be amended to outlaw gang membership

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ACDP: ACDP calls for Prevention of Organised Crime Act to be amended to outlaw gang membership

12th July 2019

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The SAPS has the second largest budget allocation of all government departments, and the 2019/2020 budget allocation of R97,59 billion represents a 6,4% nominal increase over that of the previous financial year. Our police-to-population ratio, however, is decreasing annually. In September last year, National Police Commissioner said the SAPS was operating with a shortage of 62 000 officers, which is unacceptably too high if the police intend winning the war against crime.

The ACDP is very concerned about increasing gang related violence, particularly in this province. Recently, the Western Cape Community Safety MEC confirmed that 2019 is so far the most violent year on record, with more than 1,600 people losing their lives, with 900 of those murders categorised as gang related.

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In Philippi, 13 people were shot and killed the same weekend. This is totally unacceptable.

The Prevention of Organised Crime Act No. 121 of 1998 has sections that deal with gang related activities and penalties. It even has the “Interpretation of Member of Criminal Gang,” but it does not prohibit gang membership. The ACDP would like to see the Amendment of this Act to ensure that gang membership is outlawed. Gangs are causing havoc in communities and robbing innocent people, particularly children, their right to live.

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The ACDP is also very concerned about the rising number of farm murders. The rural safety plan that is in place should be revised as it is not effective. Criminals that are involved in these attacks are very cruel. Some of them burn their victims with hot irons, rape women and children and even pour boiling water or oil on them. This unbelievable cruelty must be stopped at all costs.

We believe a revised and more effective and dedicated rural safety plan will assist in this endeavour. These attacks are a serious threat to our country's economy, food security and the livelihood of farmers, farmworkers and their families.

In 2010, Police Minister Bheki Cele reported that the country had 200 000 police officers. However, according to the Budget Analysis report we are debating today, there are currently only 192 431 personnel over 1 142 police stations countrywide which is very worrying indeed. Visible Policing Programme remains the core service delivery programme of the Department. Without the required number of police on the streets, criminals will always have the upper hand.

We need more police to fight crime successfully. We need better equipped crime intelligence operatives and an empowered IPID.

Minister, IPID appears to have been set up to fail on two main counts.

Firstly, the underfunding which has resulted in the closure of satellite offices is a concern to us as it could help corrupt police to get away with illegal activities. This year’s nominal increase of 6,9% is far less than the 23,4% increase of the previous financial year.

Secondly, IPID is being undermined by SAPS which conducts its own investigations after receiving recommendations from them. Such investigations by SAPS undermines the IPID and are an unnecessary duplication of functions and a waste of valuable resources.”

Issued by ACDP

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