Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen said in a statement on Friday that President Cyril Ramaphosa and the governing African National Congress (ANC) “have no idea on how to fight crime” in the country.
Steenhuisen said this after the president “glossed over the severity of crime and violence in South Africa” during his state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday evening, he claimed in the statement.
“Ramaphosa’s state of no action is indeed in full swing. Instead of addressing the ANC government’s chronic failure to address crime and violence in the country and presenting the nation with a concrete plan to make our streets and homes safer, Ramaphosa put the onus on communities to combat crime,” Steenhuisen said.
The DA, he said, believed in a multi-stakeholder approach to combating crime, however, he added that “ultimately the responsibility still lies with the South African Police Services (SAPS)”.
“Ramaphosa’s Sona was symbolic of a governing party that is completely estranged from the lived reality of its citizens. SAPS remain under-resourced and under-capacitated. This has resulted in the national ratio of police officers to population increasing from 1:369 in 2016/17 to 1:375 in 2017/18. The ideal ratio should be 1:220,” the DA chief whip said.
Steenhuisen said 56 people were murdered in the country every day and that the number of sexual offences against women jumped by 53% from 2015 to 2017 (31,665 to 70,813).
During the Sona, Ramaphosa said in response to calls for the allocation of funds to combat gender-based violence, the government has set aside funding in the current budget earmarked to support the resolutions taken at last year’s national summit against gender-based violence and femicide.
The president said, additionally, the government will strengthen the functioning of various specialised units with the police such as the family violence, child protection and sexual offences units and will improve its administrative and record keeping capacity at all levels.
“Now is not the time to celebrate the ANC’s crime ‘summits’. Now is the time to question where and why there is no strategy in place to protect our communities and homes.
“These statistics are further proof of the need for policing to be decentralised to ensure that provincial governments have real power in protecting communities and fighting crime. The DA will not stand by idly as the ANC continues to allow these numbers to grow, year by year. We want to protect those where we govern, and ideally, we want the opportunity to protect all South Africans.
“Ramaphosa and the failing ANC are incapable of combatting crime. The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, where our communities are safe and protected.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)