Today, on Human Rights Day, hundreds of DA supporters turned out en masse to march against crime, drugs and gangsterism to the Bethelsdorp police station where a memorandum was handed over to the SAPS. See link here:
The right to live in a safe and secure environment is a basic human right. But we find the streets of the northern suburbs of Port Elizabeth are being turned into a war zone with close to 130 people being killed in the last two years, eight in the last week. Innocent bystanders, including young children are falling victims to this tragic violence.
We need additional policing resources in the Bethelsdorp policing area and we need it now.
On the 5th of June last year, in a portfolio committee for safety and security with the top management of the SAPS, I called for the establishment of a new police station in what is known as the Bethelsdorp policing area and as an interim measure, a satellite police station in Booysens Park. See link.
The march today is to re-iterate that call. The Bethelsdorp policing area has the highest number of calls placed to a 10111 call centre in the province. It also had the third highest number of reported rapes in the province.
The R247 million spent on security upgrades for Nkandla could finance three new police stations in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth (the size of the Humewood police station or one Mount Road police station complex.) The same amount of money could also have financed 2 058 constables for one year. This is the security upgrade the people of South Africa want.
This gang related violence is not just confined to the northern areas but also has spread throughout the whole city. The DA calls for the specialised SAPS anti-gang unit and narcotics bureau (the drug squad) to be re-established as a matter of urgency. Specialised units were disbanded in the time when Jackie Selebi was the commissioner. We are now paying a heavy price.
Specialised units with a national footprint are necessary to eradicate the scourge of gangsterism and drugs in our province. Gangs and drugs are linked to organised crime that is connected across the country.
It therefore requires a nationally coordinated effort to eradicate the problems.
The DA expresses its sympathies with the families of the many innocent victims who have lost their lives or who have been injured. No stone must be left unturned by the SAPS to restore a climate of safety and security to our community.