2007-06-16 : Cape cops close to meltdown

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2007-06-16 : Cape cops close to meltdown

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-07-03 08:45


Cape cops close to meltdown
Experts compile damning report

June 16, 2007 Edition 1

Weekend Argus Reporters

The Western Cape is being policed by a blue line stretched so thin that it
has reached crisis point, says a damning report penned by experts.

The report, "Complaint in terms of section 206(5) of the Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa", was written over a period of three months by a
group of 15 people including forensic expert David Klatzow and Paul Hoffman,
director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, senior advocates and

It was compiled "out of desperation", says Klatzow.

The report says the province's police are vulnerable to attack and murder by
"brazen and anarchic individuals" who feel they have a low risk of being
caught; too many are killed due to inadequacies of police management; they
work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions; are understaffed and underpaid;
are stressed and often suicidal; and there is a worrying incidence of family
murders, post-traumatic stress disorder, violence and substance abuse
"manifestly far higher than in the general population".

"There is a crying need to devise strategies to better protect the 'thin
blue line' of police personnel," say the authors, calling on Premier Ebrahim
Rasool to appoint "forthwith" a judicial commission of inquiry into police
inefficiency and the breakdown of relations between the police and the
communities they are meant to serve.

The authors point out that the Western Cape is relatively prosperous, with
the lowest unemployment rate - 19% compared with other provinces which range
from 26% to 31% - yet there is more crime here than anywhere else: an
incidence 73 per 1 000 of the population compared with Gauteng at 63 to 1 000.

Cape Town's murder rate is 70 per 100 000 of the population, compared with
Britain's minuscule 1.5.

Concerned about the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the report's authors say that if
Cape Town is to successfully host a semi-final, "it is imperative that the
safety and security situation in the city must be beyond reproach".

"If only a small number of crime incidents of the kind which now regularly
occur and which involve foreign tourists should take place in the weeks and
months preceding the tournament, a disastrously adverse reaction in the form
of bad press and consequent cancellations by visitors and even teams
participating in the tournament is reasonably foreseeable.

"This will render the investment in the tournament a failure and will set
back the tourism potential and economic development of the province by many

Among other points highlighted by the report are:

Gangsterism and the rise of drug abuse call for a solution which is
tailor-made for the province.

The widespread use of tik (amphetamine) is creating a "lost generation" with
a tendency to violent anti-social behaviour.

Crime-fighting is hamstrung because there is no efficient, properly
structured forensic science service in the province. Laboratories are
grossly understaffed and there is growing backlog of cases.

Delays in blood-alcohol testing are so long that relevant matters are struck
off the roll after criminal cases are postponed several times - a monumental
waste of resources.

The head of the Blood Chemistry Laboratory has been discredited as an expert
by the Cape High Court, which means he cannot be used as an expert witness.

The removal of existing police area structures without a working alternative
has given rise to "alarming gaps", especially in rural areas.

The crime situation in the rural areas has been made worse by the disbanding
of the old military commando system.

An attempt at the centralisation of control in the police means "ungainly,
unproductive and overly long" meetings at which staff are tied up for hours
when they could be more productively engaged.

While English is the lingua franca, most police and the population in the
Western Cape have either Afrikaans or Xhosa as their home language. This
leads to problems with communication.

There is a worrying tendency in Cape Flats communities to take the law into
their own hands, with frustrations leading to attacks on shebeens,
vigilantism and xenophobic attacks on immigrants.

The relationship between the police and the Metro police is fraught with

The report says the high rate and violent nature of much of the crime here
is having an negative impact on society, especially its most vulnerable
members. Crime is also affecting the capacity of the province's economy "to
prosper and grow in a way that will enable it to finance the sorely needed
eradication of poverty, unemployment and human misery in this, our 'home for
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2007-06-23 : Firearms Control Act to blame for meltdown

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-07-03 09:12


Firearms Control Act partly to blame for police meltdown
June 23, 2007 Edition 1

The story "Cape cops close to meltdown" (Weekend Argus, June 16) is shocking.
However, as shocking as it is, many concerned citizens have predicted it
ever since the authorities began displaying an obsession for disarming
civilian crime victims.

Many letters were written to the authorities and all the newspapers, mostly
rejected and unpublished.

Not only are the police vulnerable, so are the public who look to them for
protection. Apart from all the flaws in the police bureaucracy listed in
the report, the mindlessly extravagant white elephant called the Firearms
Control Act surely has a big finger in the pie.

The colossal drain it would have on police manpower and budgetary resources
has been long expected.

The Firearms Control Act is a carbon copy of the disastrous Canadian model
which is largely being consigned to the scrapheap after dragging the
Canadian police budget down by billions more than budgeted, with no
discernable return on investment.

The Firearms Control Act juggernaut is well on its way, as our politicians
adapt standard Orwellian responses to such crises by the simple expedience
of labelling unsavoury realities, "perceptions". While we consider the red
herring of our "misguided perceptions" the crime industry and all its
satellites, insurance, security, etc flourish.

More taxes for our masters. Higher salaries for the gravy train passengers.
Such a pity the whingers whine so loudly! It remains to be seen whether the
forensic experts will be seen as spoilsports or the report will be taken

We can only pray that our nonchalant denialist leaders will take it seriously.

Adrian Louw
Kriel, Mpumalanga
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Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-07-03 09:13

If the police are close to "meltdown" (Weekend Argus, June 16), then could
somebody explain where they find the massive resources used to harass
non-criminal legal firearm owners with criminal-friendly legislation?
Perhaps Scopa could let us know? Or are they close to meltdown too?

Emilio Halepopoulos
Sandton, Johannesburg
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