Speech notes: Consideration of report on the study tour to the Netherlands — safety and liaison

  • Re-establishment of specialised units.
  • Red tape in procurement system.

Hon Premier

Hon Speaker

Hon Members of the House

Ladies and gentlemen in the public gallery

Indeed, I was privileged to be part of the standing committee on the visit to the Netherlands.  Needless to say, tomorrow is the birthday of this visit.  Yes, exactly one year later and only today we are tabling this report to the House.

The first day of our visit we were taken to the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI).  What a world class facility, that can and must be duplicated in our province.  This institution has the best trained forensic specialists in the world.  This did not happen in a blink of an eye but years of hard work and gathering of information in order to appoint specialists.

The Netherlands Forensic Institution does have agreements that are in the pipeline that needs to be followed up by this province.  By doing this we will become the custodians of this project.  The NFI would like to bring forensics training to the University of Nelson Mandela Bay.  This is an opportunity which cannot be missed.  In this House, there are members that can bear testimony of the appalling conditions of our forensic labs in this province.  It takes months even years to conclude an investigation while the suspect is still at large and continues to commit the same crime over and over.

We need to beef up our forensic labs, to fast track cases in order to have a better conviction success rate.

The Netherlands success in policing is one of community involvement. They regard themselves as allies of the community when it comes to fighting crime.  The situation in our province is the opposite; we are alienating our communities from the police.  There are sentiments of mistrust towards the police.  Our province can and must correct this mistrust by implementing the best practises learned from the Netherlands’ police visits.

Netherlands police are fully resourced institutions that continuously enhance its infrastructure to improve police services. Our police stations in this province are once again the opposite.  Poor infrastructure, under-resourced and the red tape within the procurement system have got a direct bearing on poor service delivery.  The ongoing excuses that there are no vehicles at stations to perform their mandate must become something of the past.  Political intervention is needed in order to facilitate a safe environment for our communities to work in, play in, to relax in and to raise their children in.

The Netherlands police in order to maintain a high level of fitness they must undergo three (3) tests on a yearly basis in order to comply, namely;

  1. Two fitness tests and one competency test.

In the event of non-compliance of the above, no member will be allowed to perform his duties outside until compliance has been reached.

We need to move with the times and to provide our SAPS members with the latest modern equipment in order to be functional.   In doing this we can then prevent, investigate and combat crime which will result in a better conviction rate.  There is a fundamental difference in arresting a suspect and then there are no convictions due to a lack of evidence.  Therefore, the Democratic Alliance is of the view that our conviction rate should be much higher, by doing this we will have a safer and better society.

Crime is escalating at the moment to a tipping point whereby we cannot grip onto a straw while the boat is sinking.

The South African Police Service can no longer have an Adhoc gang task team or have operation lock down.

This year alone more than 50 people died in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth; this is due to ongoing violence.  It is of utmost importance of the re-establishment of a specialised gang unit in order to provide a safer community.

One more death in these areas is one too many. 

For how much longer must mourning mothers, fathers, children and grandparents stand over an open grave weekend in and weekend out.

Robert J Kirby says: “Change is difficult at the beginning, messy in the middle and beautiful at the end”.

Change is what we need in the Nelson Mandela Bay and it is coming!

The Democratic Alliance is calling for the reestablishment of a specialised gang unit which is fully resourced, funded and operating on their core mandate in order to make our streets, towns and province as safer and prosperous place.

The Democratic Alliance supports this report.