Speech notes by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL, Safety & Liaison budget vote debate — 22 July 2014

Honourable Speaker, we are appreciative of the fact that R2, 850 million has been allocated to the Save a School project. One cannot get away from the fact that the Northern areas of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are the worst affected in this regard.  Yet Honourable Speaker only ten schools are being catered for in this financial year.

Crime is a reality in all of these schools in the Northern Areas. Educators and learners are constantly at risk. Closure of these schools takes place frequently because of gangsters fighting for territory in these areas. The Department should urgently investigate this matter to ensure that all schools in the Northern Areas of the Nelson Mandela Bay are enlisted on this Save a School project within this financial year. The South African Police Services should make use of Police reservists, SGB’s as well as active CPF members in order to render the service.  Honourable Speaker, these learners are our future leaders.

Education is the foundation of humanity.  Let us not rob these children of their opportunities. Honourable Speaker, the Democratic Alliance is in full support of establishing a Metro Police Service within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.  Honourable Speaker, this was the brain child of Honourable Stevenson whilst he was a member of the local municipality in 1998.  We however have a few concerns which need urgent attention.  The R15 million budget that is needed to start the Metro Police did not comply with the Municipal Finance Management Act as well as the requirement of National Treasury.

Information at my disposal indicates that only 60 of the 120 Councillors voted in favour of this budget whilst the law says 50% plus 1 is required to pass any financial issue. It is said that to date, both Security and Traffic Department personnel as well as both unions were not consulted about establishing the Metro Police.

Honourable Speaker, the unlawful ongoing strike of the 236 Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) which were previously 2010 volunteers, will be the very same members that will form part of the Metro Police that should enforce the law.  Honourable Speaker, the grading of officers will place them lower than they currently are and we will have a re-occurrence of what is happening now.

Honourable Speaker, there has been no public participation as required by legislation.  The task team only met twice since its establishment and no key recommendations can be made to the portfolio committee.

Honourable Speaker, the civilian oversight committee is also not available.  Traffic fine backlog is running at plus minus R156 million, if only the department could collect 20% of this outstanding money then Metro Police could be self-sustainable. Honourable Speaker, the MEC and her team should intervene so that we can be on course to establish the first Metro Police in this province.