Drugs and gangsterism destroy hope, dignity and opportunity

News editors: The following is an extract from a speech by Bobby Stevenson, MPL and DA spokesperson on safety and security, speaking at the Jarman Hall, Schauderville on gangsterism tonight, (Monday, 7 April 2014) at 19h00.

Drugs and gangsterism destroy hope, dignity and opportunity. It is time for an all – out war on gangs and gang culture. Stamping out these gangsters and drug dealers must be a national priority. The best way to create hope, opportunity and dignity is to provide people with real jobs

A job is a ladder out of poverty. In this election campaign the Democratic Alliance is saying we will grow the economy to create 6 million real jobs and cut back on corruption. The Democratic Alliance also says that it is no good just being tough on the criminals that commit these crimes but we must also be tough on the causes of crime.

Our security fight back must be matched by a social fight back as well. The Democratic Alliance believes in a whole society approach to combatting gangsterism and drugs.

This approach includes:

  1. The role of the family and faith based organisations;
  2. Role of intergovernmental co-operation; and
  3. Tough security measures.

In an answer that I asked in the Bhisho Legislature, we were informed that over 117 people had been killed in gang related violence over the last two years. Since I asked that question the death toll has escalated to over 130.

You all know that on Human Rights Day on 21 March, we had a big march against drugs and gangsterism in the Northern Areas. The good news is that since we’ve had that march, we’ve seen an increase in police presence throughout the Northern areas and a number of arrests have been made. We have also seen the National Minister Nathi Mthethwa visit the area. We’ve also seen helicopters flying over the Northern areas. By marching in the numbers that we did on the 21st March we sent the government a message – They have heard us.

Over the last two weeks there has been a decline in gang related incidents. However we need a long-term solution to fighting drugs and gangsterism in the Northern areas.

The Democratic Alliance is on record as calling for the return of specialised units, mainly the Narcotics Bureau as well as the Anti – gang Units. National specialised units are a key priority

But let me tell you what we are doing in the city of Cape Town where we are in government. In the city of Cape Town where there is a metro police service the Democratic Alliance has established a group of metro police officers that have been handpicked to form the gang – unit, which focusses on drug dealing and gangsterism in the Cape Flats.

This gang unit started its operations in December 2011.But in Nelson Mandela Bay we do not even have a municipal police service. If we collected R140 million in outstanding fines as well as stopped the losses in electricity and water, we would have another R400 million rand towards establishing a metro police service.

The collection rate in Nelson Mandela Bay is only 93, 6%. If we improved on that there would be additional funding as well. Let alone cutting out corruption and wastage in this metro.

Why should the Deputy Mayor be able to spend R45, 000 a month on a hired vehicle? This is a small example of how money is wasted.

If we can spend R246 million on Nkandla we could established three new police stations in the Northern areas of Port Elizabeth.

The city of Cape Town together with the Western Cape Government also has a number of other initiatives, such as:

  • Violence prevention through urban upgrading programme which is involved in improving social conditions;
  • The deployment of neighbourhood safety officers;
  • The piloting of school resource officers;
  • Prioritising the rollout of CCTV cameras;
  • The ongoing development of functional specialisation; through units such as the gang unit, the liquor control unit, the problem building unit, the drug enforcement unit and the marine environmental unit;
  • The Western Cape Government has also established 180 centres in disadvantaged areas where learners can go to after school where they can engage in sport, do homework and other recreational facilities.

In the city of Cape Town the law enforcement services have grown from 469 members from June 2011 to 805 in July 2013.

Where the Democratic Alliance governs it is making a real difference in the lives of ordinary people and it is providing direction and real leadership with regard to the fight against gangsterism and drugs.