It is time for Minister Cele to go!

Following the release of the latest quarterly crime statistics on Friday, the National Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, is not doing enough to improve policing and for the protection of residents in our city and country. The National Minister has repeatedly shown he is not fit for the job, and it is time for President Ramaphosa to act. Therefore, I support Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s call for Minister Cele to be fired.

Geordin Hill-Lewis. Image credit: COCT

Geordin Hill-Lewis. Image credit: COCT

The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government have collectively made massive investments to deploy more than 1 100 additional local law enforcement officers under our LEAP programme to make up for the ongoing police resource shortages in our region. This investment has enabled law enforcement to triple its arrest rate in recent years.

Contrary to Minister Cele’s calls for all policing to be centralised under national government, the exact opposite is what is really needed – policing powers need to be devolved to capable provincial and municipal governments. As with other areas where local government can deliver a better-quality service to its residents, it is time for policing to be properly devolved to functional and capable municipalities too.

To help make Cape Town safer, the City has passed a R5,4 billion Safety budget this financial year, with funding for 150 more officers this year alone, and R86 million for CCTV and new crime-fighting tech in 2022/2023.

While the LEAP officers have made impressive inroads into reducing crime in many hotspots around Cape Town, we cannot do it alone. Hard working police officers in this province desperately need additional resources and support from national government. More officers, and especially more detectives, are needed to up the conviction rate and keep criminals off the streets. Given his record to date, we do not have confidence in Minister Cele to deliver this. He needs to go.