Crime summit a start, but now action is required

Crime summit a start, but now action is required

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants to thank Community Safety MEC Xolile Nqatha for finally honouring the mandate the Eastern Cape Legislature placed upon him in October last year and hosting a crime summit in the Northern Areas.

The phenomenal turnout at the summit signifies the great concern that the people have regarding the high rate of violent crime that has besieged our communities. Perhaps now that the MEC has heard the plight of the people first-hand, he may be moved to do something about it.

It is disappointing that the programme director, former mayor Eugene Johnson, refused to allow councillors or members of parliament to speak. She knows full well that public representatives are elected to be the people’s voice. Her actions once again highlight the disdain that the ANC has for the people of this country.

I will be writing to MEC Nqatha to outline the inputs of the elected Northern Areas councillors who were prevented from speaking and to request that he make the summit resolutions available, as these were not presented to the community on the day.

While we welcome the announcement that a stipend will be made available for 50 neighbourhood watch members, MEC Nqatha must ensure that the meeting is the beginning of the provincial interventions against crime in the area and not the end.

We will also be requesting that the MEC return to the Northern Areas to provide feedback on the implementation of the summit resolutions and on the proposals submitted to him.

In a recent report prepared by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (CPSC), Nelson Mandela Bay has now been ranked as the most dangerous city in South Africa.

Standing at 78,33 murders per 100,000 people in 2023, Nelson Mandela Bay has slipped into the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world from 24th in 2019 to 9th currently, with only cities from Mexico, Haiti and Ecuador being more dangerous. According to the report, Nelson Mandela Bay’s murder rate has increased by a staggering 37% in the last year alone.

Between 2021 and 2023, more than 88% of all gang-related violence in Nelson Mandela Bay occurred in the Northern Areas. Over this period, 361 shooting incidents related to gang violence were reported, 319 of which were reported in the Northern Areas. This resulted in 180 individuals being killed, of which 22 were children.

The DA already raised the alarm on NMB’s crime trends last year when we launched our campaign against crime through our petition.

We are now calling on MEC Nqatha to make good on the rest of the mandate given to him by the Legislature, which includes doubling the number of members allocated to the Anti-Gang Unit, assigning the best detectives from around the country to support the SAPS in NMB, deploying the SAPS National Intervention Unit / Special Task Force in the Northern Areas, and strengthening crime intelligence and increasing police visibility.

The motion also calls for SAPS Provincial commissioner, Major General Nomthetheleli Mene, together with the Department of Community Safety, to consider investing in Drone Technology to be used as part of the Anti-Gang Unit operations and to consider rolling out ShotSpotter technology to other parts of the Northern Areas where gang-related activities are of concern.

The DA will continue the fight to rescue the people of the Northern Areas from the grip of gangsterism and violent crime. Together, we aim to bring about a safer, more secure future where families and communities no longer live in the shadow of fear.