On Friday, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, hosted a Ministerial safety workshop with Executive Mayors, Municipal Managers and Aldermen of the Cape Winelands, Central Karoo, Garden Route, Overberg and West Coast municipalities.
This workshop facilitated discussions around the challenges experienced with regards to safety in these municipalities, possible solutions and the overarching role of coordinating safety bodies or Community Safety Forums (CSFs).
Minister Fritz said, “A CSF aims to tackle the limitations of Community Policing Forums, which focus specifically on community police relations, by using a developmental perspective to resolve safety challenges. This involves bringing together the role-players responsible for criminal justice services that, if correctly utilised, could assist in crime prevention.”
CSFs aim to increase cooperation and improve the functioning of the local criminal justice system and delivery of crime prevention projects.
The benefits of implementing CSFs are that they:
- Provide a sustained multi-disciplinary approach to crime prevention;
- Deepen the understanding of each safety stakeholder;
- Focus on safety by all service delivery agencies;
- Have a multidisciplinary approach enabling the flow of communication; and
- Have a common vision.
Minister Fritz added, “Having a common vision is arguably the most important point of all. Latest trends reveal that there is an increase in crime across the board. As you are well aware, our rural communities, which include farmers and farm workers, are under attack as farm-related murders are equally on the rise. In the long-term, this is a threat to food security, job opportunities and economic growth.”
Minister Fritz said, “When it comes to safety, we cannot work in silos. Effective crime prevention needs activity at all three levels. Local government play a vitally important role in the process of etablishing common safety plans. In terms of the Constitution, the objectives of local government are, amongst others, to promote a safe and healthy environment. Municipalities are obliged to dedicate their financial and administrative capacity towards achieving a safe and healthy environment, and to involve communities and community organisations in this process.”
“It should be further noted that local, provincial and national government are not solely responsible for creating safe environments. Each and every single one of us has a role to play as it will take a whole of society approach to ensure the safety of our province. This means that as parents, teachers, NGOs and good citizens, that if we see crime we must immediately act and report it. Additionally, we should take it upon ourselves to support or volunteer in our local Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing Forums,” said Minister Fritz.
Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety will continue to use every tool at its disposal to improve the safety of residents in the Western Cape.