CAPE TOWN, June 11 — South Africa’s Western Cape Province recorded 331 murders in May, compared with 304 murders in the same period last year, due to “systemic failures,” Premier Alan Winde said on Tuesday.
“That is more than 10 murders per day in the province – lives cut short by senseless violence,” Winde said.
The fact that murder numbers have increased year-on-year is deeply concerning and points to “systemic failures” by the police to curb crime and violence, he said.
Winde complained that police are woefully under-resourced in this province.
In the Western Cape, the police to population ratio is 1 police officer for every 509 people. In the Cape Town metro, this is even higher at 1:560 against a national average of 1:375.
The Western Cape is administered by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has repeatedly urged the national government to beef up the provincial police force.
The Western Cape police have to investigate 10 new murders per day and that doesn’t even include the thousands of other crimes that make up their caseloads, Winde said.
“In addition to visible policing in communities and on the ground, this province also desperately requires additional crime intelligence resources which will help us target and curb crime in the metro and in our rural areas,” Winde said.
The Western Cape is doing everything it can, by equipping neighborhood watches and instituting Watching Briefs to monitor the court process after an arrest has been made, but without an effective police service, it cannot make progress toward reducing the murder rate, said Winde.
Winde said he has declared an inter-governmental dispute with Police Minister Bheki Cele who has ignored repeated calls to re-allocate police resources to the Western Cape.
“We have set a meeting date to engage Minister Cele on our inter-governmental dispute with him on police under-resourcing in our province, and we hope he finally shows up, for us and for all the residents of our province,” Winde said.
The province on Tuesday announced July 4 for a mediation meeting with Cele. – XINHUA