Human Rights

Cele’s mindless ‘Shoot to Kill’ order reinforces need for police devolution

Speaking at the SAPS Western Cape Festive Season event in Mitchell’s Plain yesterday, Minister Cele said that police officers must not ask questions, they must just “shoot and kill.”

I strongly condemn Minister Cele’s remarks, and call on other leaders in government and civil society to join me in doing so.

This instruction from the Minister of Police to the police officers under his watch is not only profoundly irresponsible, but it is also an incitement to break the law. The Criminal Procedures Act provides very clear guidelines on the appropriate and proportionate use of force for police officers.

Minister Cele’s remarks can only be interpreted as the bluster of a failed police minister with no real understanding of how to fight crime. Indeed, a pattern has developed in which national Police Ministers resort to “shoot to kill” exhortations precisely when it is evident they are losing the fight against crime.

Minister Charles Nqakula did it in 2003 , Minister Susan Shabangu did it in 2008, Minister Cele did it previously in 2009 and Minister Fikile Mbalula in 2017. As the national crime statistics show, this rhetoric has got us precisely nowhere.

The City of Cape Town rejects this cowboy approach to crime-fighting. Instead, we believe in properly resourcing our law enforcement agencies and ensuring that our officers are sufficiently trained to bring criminals to book.

The Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town’s deployment of LEAP officers in the most crime affected communities is making a positive impact. The Crime Stats released for the 1st Quarter of 2022 indicates that, while the national murder rate is increasing, murder continues to come down in areas where LEAP officers are deployed.

To date, we have deployed 1 100 new officers in communities impacted by high crime rates, including Delft, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Philippi, Hanover Park, Bishop Lavis, Mfuleni, Harare, in partnership with the Western Cape.

The City of Cape Town has allocated a record R5,4 bn safety budget this year, with funding for 230 more officers and auxiliaries this year alone. We have also invested in the expansion of our training capacity at the City’s law enforcement training college, allocating R66m over the next three years.

In July this year, we deployed 100 Law Enforcement officers to the Cape Town CBD. Earlier this month, we announced the deployment of a 24/7 dedicated Highway Patrol Unit. This new unit will improve traffic service, reduce fatalities, and ensure that law and order is maintained on our main arterial roads.

However, we can do so much more if we are given more power to do so. In August this year, I sent a formal request to Minister Cele to give the City of Cape Town’s police officers full crime-fighting powers, including the ability to investigate crime. This devolution of policing powers to a local level is provided for in Section 99 of the Constitution.

Unfortunately, Minister Cele has so far failed to respond to this request.

I therefore reiterate my call to Minister Cele to grant the City of Cape Town more powers for our local police officers to fully investigate crime so that criminals are caught, prosecuted and put behind bars.

We are prepared to help the national Police Minister, but he needs to give us the powers to do so. The devolution of policing powers will help shift the needle in the fight against crime; mindless bluster will not.

Source: City Of Cape Town