SPEECH NOTES BY BOBBY STEVENSON, MPL – SPEAKING ON A MOTION AT THE CONGRESS OF THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE CALLING FOR THE RE-INSTATEMENT OF THE SAPS SPECIALISED UNITS
The disbandment in 2006 of the Specialised Units of the SAPS in South Africa runs contrary to both common sense and international best practises.
The following units were disbanded :
• The family violence, child abuse and sexual offences unit
• The Narcotics bureau
• The Scorpions
• And units such as the vehicle theft and anti hijacking unit as well as the serious and violent crimes unit.
Findings by the Institute for Security Studies illustrate that the disbanding of specialised units has had a severely negative impact on the fight against crime.
the DA is opposed to the disbanding of these units and has long been calling for the re-instatement of these units as they are an essential element in the fight against crime.
This is particularly so of the child protection, family violence and sexual offences unit. Studies confirm the disasterous effects the disbandment of these units have had on South Africa especially in assisting victims using specialised skills and detective work.
Real evidence of the disastrous impact of disbanding these units in the Eastern Cape is found in the 2007/8 annual report of the SAPS.
In an overview of family violence and sexual offences cases for the year 2006/7 – 1160 cases were finalised and went to court. In 2007/8 only 728 were finalised.
Although there has been a U-turn in regard to the re-establishment of the FCS units, the details are not yet clear.
There is also an urgent need to re-instate the narcotics bureau. Drug related crimes have soared 87% from 62 689 in 2003/4 when the narcotics bureau was shut down to 117 172 in 2009.
The closure of the crime combatting unit or public policing unit, was shown to be a failure during the 2008 xenophobic violence when the military had to be brought in because the SAPS no longer was able to cope.
The Democratic Alliance also believes that where we are in power we need to establish specialised units that are relevant to that area of authority.
In the city of Cape Town where the DA is the governing party, a specialised unit of the metro police called the Copperheads was established. This resulted in the city of Cape Town’s losses being brought down from R22 million to R500 000 in a year.
Metal theft continues to be a problem throughout the country and unless the right strategies are in place, this matter will not be resolved.
The disbanding of the scorpions has also been disasterous for South Africa. The Scorpions concluded over a five year period, an average of 233 cases per year.
A total of 639 scorpions cases were transferred to the hawks on 1 July 2009 but by the end of December last year only 38 had been finalised. If we really want to put an end to corruption in this country, we need to bring back the scorpions.
The decision to disband specialised units formed part of the ANC’s attempt to centralised all departments under the national commissioner, even though every study at the time, as well as international best practise mandated the expansion not dismantling of these units.
Look what’s happened to the former national commissioner now. The ANC has put it’s own agenda ahead of the agenda of all South Africans. If we want to bring crime down, we need to take the ANC down in the next Municipal election.
Our message to the ANC is very clear – bring back law and order, bring back the specialised units.