Internal Affairs

Constitutional rights mean little when you live in fear of violent crime

Statement by Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis

In Cape Town we are working to make the rights in the text of our Constitution more real for people in their lives. We are doing this by making Cape Town a safer place to live, by fixing basic services to give people more dignity, and by growing our economy to get more people into work. Everything we do is with this aim in mind. That is why we call this our clear sense of higher purpose.

On Human Rights Day we will hear much talk of fealty to human rights. But all of this is lip service so long as essential national government services, particularly those on which the poor depend, are collapsing.

Getting the basics of good government right is a profound moral good in South Africa. And that is our commitment in Cape Town. We will work to do the basics well, to keep people safer, and to grow the economy so that they have a better chance of finding work. In so doing, we will build a city that gives hope to South Africans.

This Human Rights Day we are focusing on crime in our city. The legal protection of Constitutional rights mean nothing when you live in fear of violent crime. Mothers in Cape Town live in daily fear for their children, and for their own safety. Drug dealers and gangsters care nothing for the sanctity of every human life.

That is why the City of Cape Town government can and must expand our policing powers and functions to protect residents from both violent criminals and from the collapse of the SAPS.

During the election campaign, one of our core pledges was to do more to keep Capetonians safe by deploying hundreds more law enforcement officers, and more safety tech like cameras and drones. We have already, with the help of the Western Cape provincial government, deployed 1000 extra law enforcement officers focused in the 11 worst crime hotspots in the city. This investment is showing results, with Cape Town being the only city in the country where violent crime is going down, and with Nyanga and Kraaifontein dropping right off the murder-capital lists. But we know there is more to do.

We will invest in even more law enforcement officers, and equipment, and vehicles to make every Capetonian feel safer. And we will focus single-mindedly on growing the economy so that more people can get into work and out of poverty. This way, we will do our part to make human rights real in Cape Town.

I wish you a happy and peaceful Human Rights Day!

Source: City Of Cape Town