MEC Kaunda meets with Heads of Law Enforcement in KZN
• Programme Director!
• The Head of the Department of Transport: Mr Sibusiso Gumbi
• The Head of the Department of Community Safety and Liaison: Mr Themba Mavundla
• The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS: LT-General Mkhwanazi
• Head of RTI and PTES
• Heads of Traffic in various Municipalities
• Ladies and Gentlemen
• Good Morning
It has become customary that each time we approach a busy holiday season, we meet in this fashion and plan together on how are going to curb crime and road crashes in our province.
As we are approaching Easter holidays and the General Elections in May, we saw it fit to convene this meeting to assess our state of readiness for this busy period. But most importantly, we have brought you under one roof so that collectively, we have a common understanding of what needs to be done to save people’s lives in KwaZulu-Natal.
I want to assure you that we can only succeed in achieving this noble goal if we are united and work together as a team. The importance of unity and team work is aptly captured in an Ethiopian proverb that says “When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.”
Therefore, I have no doubt that if all of us here are determined and have a unity of purpose, we can overcome the scourge of violent crime and fatal crashes in the province. Let us draw inspiration from the wise words of our first democratic President, uTata Nelson Mandela when he says, “When people are determined they can overcome anything.” Indeed, together we can overcome lawlessness in our province.
You will recall that when we started the process of integrating our safety plans in 2017, KwaZulu-Natal recorded a significant decline in road crashes and fatalities by 10%. We also observed a noticeable decline in incidents of crime in our communities.
This success could be attributed to the fact that we developed a plan together. We also went further to communicate the plan down to the level of station and unit commanders because we wanted them to own it since they are in the coalface of service delivery. We are pleased that our women and men in uniform closed ranks and implemented the plan to the letter.
Unfortunately, in the following year, we lowered our guards, and as a result, KwaZulu-Natal became the leading province with 111 road fatalities during 2018 Easter holidays.
These are worrying statistics and they call for drastic action among all of us charged with the responsibility of saving lives. Therefore, the plans that we will be fine-tuning in this room must give confidence to yourselves and the people you lead that we are indeed poised to save lives during the Easter holidays and beyond.
24/7 SHIFT SYSTEM
I am happy to report that the Provincial Executive Council has endorsed the implementation of the 24/7 shift system for the Road Traffic Inspectorate and the Public Transport Enforcement Services (Ushanela) in the province. Now we are awaiting the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to finalise engagements with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as well as the National Treasury. This initiative will go a long way towards increasing police visibility on our roads day and night, thus reducing high-levels of road crashes and fatalities.
Research conducted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), indicate that 26% of crashes on our roads occur between 22H00-06H00 when the level of traffic police visibility has been reduced.
As the provincial Department of Transport, we need to start preparing ourselves for this system so that it finds us ready when it receives a go ahead from DPSA and National Treasury.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are approaching a very busy period of the Easter holidays and the province is expecting an influx of visitors and church goers which lead to high traffic volumes to and from KwaZulu-Natal.
Therefore, the majority of the people of KwaZulu-Natal will be relying heavily on our law enforcement officers for their safety.
It means that the police will be hard at work, performing their primary task of protecting the law abiding citizens from heartless criminals who are always prepared to terrorise our communities.
Equally, our traffic officers will have to ensure that we reduce road carnage in the province. Road users must not die in large numbers from avoidable crashes.
Therefore, when we get out of this room, we must all have a clear plan on how we are going to deal with the main drivers of crime in our communities. We must know how we are going intensify our operations to recover illegal firearms which are often used to commit murders in the province. I am sure we are all aware that statistics indicate that murders and fatal crashes occur in the vicinity of liquor outlets. This is also where incidents of rape and assault normally take place. Therefore, we must develop a concrete plan to clamp down on illegal liquor outlets and those who flout license conditions by operating on irregular hours.
To our traffic officers, we want to issue a clear directive that as from today we want 24/7 roadblocks throughout the province and please ensure that:
• No vehicle must escape our roadblocks without being stopped and checked;
• All drivers are tested for alcohol;
• Monitor all crash hotspots on national, provincial and district roads.
I also want to urge you to be on the look-out for over-speeding and un-roadworthy vehicles. You must also focus on pedestrians - those who are jaywalking, drinking and walking as well as crossing freeways and throwing objects over freeways while crossing bridges.
Police must intensify the “cordon-and-search” operations to address the issue of drugs and to look for most wanted criminals. We want criminals to feel that KwaZulu-Natal has reignited its zero tolerance approach to lawlessness.
However, I want to caution that our plans will not succeed if we leave behind our communities and their structures. The Community Policing Forum (CPF), KwaZulu-Natal Community Crime Fighting Association (KZN-CCPA) and other community initiatives are crucial in gathering information on the ground.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you are aware that we are only left with 26 before the 2019 general elections. I want to caution you that these elections are going be hotly contested, particularly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. According to the Independent Electoral Commission there are 31 political parties that will be contesting for 5.5 million registered voters in the province. We are pleased that the police have developed a plan to secure these historic elections which coincide with the celebration of 25 years of democracy in South Africa. A comprehensive security plan to safeguard the elections was presented to all political parties during the signing of the Electoral Code of Conduct in Durban last month. All political parties were satisfied with the deployment of police personnel in 4886 voting stations in the province. However, I want to urge you to closely monitor the areas that experienced disruptions during the open voter registration days.
MULTI-PARTY POLITICAL INTERVENTION COMMITTEE
As the provincial government, we have also resuscitated the Multi-Party Political Intervention Committee which is constituted by all political parties that will be contesting the elections in the province as well as the heads of law enforcement agencies. This committee is responsible for creating a conducive environment for peaceful, free and fair elections. It also identifies hotspots areas for political conflicts and make necessary interventions.
While the province remains fairly stable, this committee continues to monitor the situation in areas such as Lindelani in KwaDukuza and Vryheid following few incidents of violent political conflicts. In the last meeting of the MPPIC, we took a decision that we will meet forth-nightly to assess the level of political tolerance and stability in the province.
The provincial government is concerned about the increase of violent public protests in the province. Within the period of three months (January-March 2019), 217 violent public protests have been reported in KwaZulu-Natal. In view of the fact that we are approaching the elections, these violent protests might intensify. We therefore call upon you to be vigilant in areas that we have identified as hotspots for violent public protests such as Ethekwini Municipality, Harry Gwala, Umgungundlovu and Ugu District Municipalities. The Sub-Committee on Public Protests, established by the Provincial Executive Council last year, will also continue to intervene in these and other areas in the province to proactively address service delivery challenges raised by members of the community.
TRUCK DRIVERS PROTESTS
Another issue that has a potential of causing instability in the province is the blockading of highways and torching of trucks. These incidents came hot on the heels of the complaints raised by local truck drivers that freight and logistics companies employ foreign nationals as truck drivers. As the provincial government, we have intervened on the matter and subsequently elevated it to the Ministers of Transport, Labour, Home Affairs and Police. We have also met with both parties-the truck owners and drivers to find a lasting solution to the problem. Again, last week, we met both parties and committed ourselves to work together to bring stability in the sector and to intensify law enforcement operations in companies that are flouting labour and immigration laws.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that any plan that is not implemented is as good as non-existent. I therefore urge you that after we have concretised our plan today, let us go back and implement it to the letter. Our message must be loud and clear that anyone who breaks the law in this province will spend time in jail.
Let us unite and stand together until we eradicate crime and road carnage.
I thank you.