Minister of Safety and Security
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
MEC for Provincial Safety, Liaison and Transport; Eastern Cape
National Commissioner of Police
Provincial Commissioner of Police; Eastern Cape
PORT ELIZABETH IS THE RAPE CAPITAL OF SOUTH AFRICA
I think it is appropriate to react to the responses that I have received from the
Hon. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as from Deputy National Commissioner, TC Williams, in the Office of the National Commissioner of Police.
It is with a sense of relief that I have received your letters indicating that you share my concern about the huge problem of rape in the Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage area. I believe that this consensus on the existence of the problem will, above all, ensure that together we can find a lasting solution. I am sure that you’ll agree that the Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage situation reflects to a certain degree the national situation, and a solution for this area will provide a blueprint for dealing with one of the greatest crisis that our Country faces.Minister Maduna states in his letter that the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), adopted in 1996, aims “to create a climate in which all communities can live in peace, safety and security” and furthermore, that “the Department of Justice has fulfilled its responsibilities within the NCPS, and will continue to do so.” If this is in fact the case, then I have serious reservations about the effectiveness of the NCPS, or the ability of all the role-players to fulfil their responsibilities. Perhaps an audit of the four-year-old NCPS, and its role-players, is long overdue and necessary to determine where problems exist.Minister Maduna points out that I am correct in my assertion regarding lack of cooperation between the SAPS and the Department of Justice. I believe that lack of cooperation is at the heart of the problem, and the Minister’s assurance that the criminal justice system is moving towards an Integrated Justice System (IJS) to address the problem is welcomed. The creation of special courts, improved court equipment, specially trained justice officials as well as law projects aimed at addressing the problem of rape indicate that Government is moving in the right direction.I am however left with the question: when will all these initiatives be finalised, and more specifically when will our Nation, including my constituency in Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage, see the fruits of this labour. Let me be very clear about this, the people in my constituency, and no doubt people across our Country, are growing increasingly cynical about Government’s ability to implement the good ideas that it has on paper, especially when the reality they experience year after year is increasingly harsh and merciless. It is in this context that partnership between communities and Government is of such great value, hence I commit myself to assist in fostering such cooperation in my constituency. However, Government must not forget that the onus lies with it to deliver; people pay taxes for Safety and Security as well as Justice and certainly not to live in fear.The Deputy Commissioner admits the SAPS crime reporting system does not allow for comparisons between the number of cases reported versus the number disposed or finalised in court. Clearly this is a shortcoming that needs to be addressed to fulfil Minister Maduna’s stated goal of an Integrated Justice System.Deputy Commissioner Williams notes that certain areas, including
Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage, have high figures for cases disposed of or withdrawn before or during court proceedings. The promised initiation of a rape docket analysis, to determine the reasons for these unacceptably high figures, should significantly contribute to solving the problem. Unfortunately, the moratorium on police crime information will probably prevent the public access to the results of this research. Is the call for public participation in crime prevention by the NCPS and Minister Maduna not futile if the public is not informed of the extent and location of problems that Government expect the public to participate in solving?
Your commitment to finding a solution is appreciated. I will promptly inform my constituency of your responses. I commit myself to assist in creating a better cooperation between the public and the criminal justice system in my constituency.
Yours in the struggle to create a safer and more just South Africa.
UDM Member of Parliament
United Democratic Movement