The DA led Western Cape government has made a formal dispute declaration with Police Minister Bheke Cele over the policing resources in the province.
Announcing the dispute declaration on Sunday, DA Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde had this to say,
In my capacity as Western Cape MEC of community safety, and as authorised by the Western Cape cabinet, I have written to the national Minister of Police Bheki Cele to notify him that the Western Cape government is declaring a formal intergovernmental dispute with the police minister.
It was now six months since the Western Cape government first wrote to Cele with a list of urgent policing needs and priorities for the province, which Cele had ignored. He had failed to respond to the urgent requests, even after a follow-up letter in December, and hand delivering the letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa in person in parliament in February
Cele was obliged by the Constitution to consult and take account of the specific needs of the province when determining policy. By ignoring these needs and priorities, Cele was violating the Constitution.
Our province urgently needs more police officers. Western Cape police is dramatically under resourced compared to other provinces. While one officer must protect 375 people on average nationally, in the Western Cape, the ratio is 1:509. It makes me angry that the national ANC government gives our province fewer resources to fight crime than other provinces.
The Western Cape needs urgent additional personnel to enable the Western Cape provincial [police] commissioner to take steps to address gang violence and the appalling murder rate, as well as to protect learners and schools, public transport, and state infrastructure such as ambulances.
Winde also said the Western Cape government offered the police service R5 million to pay for the deployment of police reservist in the province. In addition to this, Winde says the Western Cape government also offered to provide volunteer clerical resources that would help free up officers to do more community work. Winde says these offers have beeen ignored by the police minister.
Cele is now obliged by section 41 of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act to meet urgently with the Western Cape government to respond to and address this dispute.