The Portfolio Committee on Police has advised the Civilian Secretariat of Police and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to speed up the amendment of the SAPS Act, as a means to clarify roles and responsibilities across the police value chain, and to strengthen policing.
Committee chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson said she is concerned by the lack of uniformity in South Africa’s policing system [and] this could be clarified through the amendment of the SAPS Act to bring it in line with the Constitution.
“It is on this basis that we have urged the SAPS management to expedite the amendment of the Act to ensure that no gaps are visible in the fight against crime. From this amendment, a clear framework managing the relationship between SAPS and community policing forums must be set out,” Joemat-Pettersson said.
The committee held a follow-up session with the SAPS and the Western Cape MEC of Community Safety Albert Fritz, on issues relating to Community Policing Forums (CPFs) in the Western Cape on Tuesday.
During a meeting, the committee said it is concerned that the relationship between SAPS and CPFs remains challenging, and that this negatively impacts on collaborative crime-fighting.
The committee called for urgent interactions aimed at resolving the relationship and codifying it to ensure sustainability.
The committee welcomed the announcement that 147 of 151 police stations in the Western Cape have concluded their CPF annual general meetings, and called for the election process to be finalised to ensure that all 151 police stations in the Western Cape have links to communities they serve.
Joematt-Pettersson said this enhances community participation in the fight against crime in the province.
“We can only win the war against crime if we work collaboratively with a clear goal of ensuring peaceful and safe communities,” the chairperson said.
Standardise training for CPFs
Regarding training, the committee highlighted it concerns regarding inadequate training of CPFs, which affects their ability to discharge their responsibility.
The committee has called on SAPS to standardise training and ensure that CFPs are adequately capacitated to play their critical role in the fight against crime.
Joematt-Pettersson said that standardisation of the relationship between SAPS and CPFs will also assist in planning and resourcing this critical pillar of the fight against crime.
“The committee considers the CPF and the community policing strategy a cornerstone to fighting crime, and efforts must be expanded to ensure their effectiveness. To this end, the committee expects regular reports on the implementation of the community policing strategy, as well as measures to improve the relationship between SAPS and CPFs,” she said.