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City Of Cape Town Plans To Roll Out Ward-based Law Enforcement Officers


City Of Cape Town Plans To Roll Out Ward-based Law Enforcement Officers

Cape Town - One of the priorities for the City of Cape Town's Safety and Security Directorate from an increased budget allocation in the 2019/20 financial year is to roll out dedicated ward-based law enforcement officers

The City is allocating R535 million capital budget to the Safety and Security Directorate in the 2019/20 financial year.

The capital allocation will be used for the acquisition of vehicles and equipment, as well as improvements to facilities across the seven departments within the Directorate.

These include the Metro Police Department, Law Enforcement Department, Cape Town Traffic Service, Fire and Rescue Service, Disaster Risk Management and the Public Emergency Communication Centre and Events.

There will also be an additional operating budget totalling R112 million which is split between R70 million for staff and R42 million for general expenses for vehicle maintenance, fuel, overtime, uniforms and equipment as well as the expansion of volunteer services.

"In the City, we run an inclusive and responsive government. We engaged communities before we even started drafting the budget, and then we also invited public comment on the draft. There were many comments about what our annual budget priorities should be. We listened and the budget will be tabled for approval at Council on Wednesday May 29," said Mayor Dan Plato.

"Once adopted, we will be able to forge ahead with plans to deploy one dedicated law enforcement officer to each of the 116 wards in the metro. This deployment will be in addition to the existing 100 extra officers we are deploying in the Neighbourhood Safety Team in Bonteheuwel, Valhalla Park and Bishop Lavis," said Plato.

The ward-based law enforcement officers will serve their communities by coordinating safety operations, working with the local communities, councillors, Neighbourhood Watches, Community Policing Forums, the business community, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and City departments to ensure that areas in need of attention are addressed.

They will receive specialised training for working in a fixed precinct which includes strategies for addressing social and urban management issues as well as logging City infrastructure and other defects, in addition to enforcing traffic and by-law offences and doing crime prevention.

An allocation of R70 million has been made in the new budget for additional staff, including the new ward-based initiative.

The officers will work from existing City facilities within their respective wards. It is envisioned that they will be deployed from December 2019.

"The City's law enforcement officers can never replace the SAPS but it is clear that SAPS are under-resourced and while we are fighting to ensure that the National Government addresses this shortcoming, we cannot allow our communities to wait until that happens. We believe that these dedicated law enforcement officers will be a crucial link between the City and residents," said Plato.

Other areas where additional staff will be deployed in the 2019/20 financial year include:

  • Additional law enforcement resources for challenged central business districts across the city, such as Rylands, Bellville and Wynberg
  • Increase in clerks at driving licence testing centres to operate vacant counters and to work split shifts to allow the facilities to be open later and six days a week, including every Saturday
  • Increase capacity of the Transport Enforcement Unit and Operation Reclaim to address transgressions in the public transport sector including taxi violations
  • Additional staff for the Fire and Rescue Service

"Earlier this year, we announced that additional funding had been secured through the Adjustments Budget. The R165 million was spent on purchasing additional patrol vehicles, CCTV cameras and recruiting additional officers who are currently finishing their training and will be deployed soon in the Bonteheuwel, Valhalla Park and Bishop Lavis areas," said Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

"I understand the dire need for more safety interventions across the metro. We will continue this trend with the new budget, which will allow for massive increases in the purchase of vehicles, equipment, extra CCTV cameras, where they are needed, and improvements to facilities from which our staff have to operate. 

"The increase in the vehicle budget will allow for much more effective enforcement work by our officers who are currently hamstrung by a lack of patrol vehicles. The City cares about improving the quality of life for our residents and safety plays a big part in this," said Smith.

Author IOL
Published 29 May 2019 / Views -
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