Northern Areas SAPS under-resourced while millions spent on festival: Trollip

JANUARY 30, 2016

The South African Police Service in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas is waging an uphill battle against rampant gangsterism and crime, which sees too many innocent residents caught in the crossfire, the Democratic Alliance's (DA) Eastern Cape leader and Mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip said on Friday following an oversight visit to the area with DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zak Mbhele.

"The valiant efforts by some dedicated and hard-working officers are simply overshadowed by surging levels of violent gang wars and crime. The SAPS here are disastrously under-resourced, as we discovered today. They are not being provided the tools necessary to fight increasing crime," Trollip said.

"However, just over 6 months ago, in an act of negligent spending, SAPS is alleged to have blown R40 million on a music festival in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

"First, we need well-resourced stations, functional vehicle fleets and more officers on the beat. We saw stations today without enough vehicles, or officers."

Trollip said that with only two police stations, and often less than 50% of police vehicles operational, for the entire Northern Areas community of almost 200 000 people, the SAPS is hamstrung in the face of increasing crime here.

"The national ANC government is not doing nearly enough to equip the Northern Areas police, yet feels it appropriate to spend R40 million on a music festival.

"At the local government level, instead of working to assist SAPS in dealing with this growing crisis, the ANC government in NMB remains without a plan to secure our communities or launch a Metro Police Service," he said.

"Both Station Commanders from the Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp Police Stations agreed that a Metro Police Service would greatly assist with the enforcement of by-laws.

"The ever increasing delay to launch and operate an NMB Metro Police service just shows the lack of regard for the safety of our people, by this NMB government. While people continue to die, nothing is done to launch a Metro Police Service here."

Trollip said that in the City of Cape Town, where the DA is in charge, with the introduction of an effective metro police force, arrests have increased to a staggering 1 000 known gangsters and criminals every month.

"Incidences of violent crime and gangsterism are being driven downwards by the DA's Cape Town efforts as slowly but surely these law enforcement agencies begin to win this war.

"It is clear that the ANC has no plan to fight crime in NMB, and therefore the existing and already adopted plan from 2012, must surely be honestly and seriously considered," he said.