The City of Cape Town will fight tooth and nail for the retention of the country’s metro police, Mayor Patricia De Lille said on Wednesday.
De Lille said at the city’s first council meeting the existence of the metro police was being threatened by a draft white paper on safety and security by the SA Police Service’s (SAPS) civilian secretariat.
“This draft white paper proposes that metro and municipal police services be abolished and that they all fall under the purview of the national SA Police Service,” she said.
“We will fight this move to do away with metro police with every resource at our disposal.”
Doing away with metro police had been on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s agenda for some time, she said.
The final Constitution adopted in 1996 “seemingly clearly stated” that the country would need a single police service, De Lille said.
However, the Constitution also made provision for local police services.
The philosophy of a community-based approach to crime fighting was adopted by Cape Town in 2006 with the realisation that one of the key players in the community was the city government itself.
Since then Cape Town had specialised its metro police service. De Lille said Cape Town had deployed several successful specialised units – Ghost Squad, Copperheads, Vice Squad, Drug Busters, and others – which had success in fighting crime due to “good intelligence, careful planning, and excellent training”.
“The metro police have helped keep the people of Cape Town safe. If given the chance, they would continue to keep us safe,” she said.
“It would be a tragedy if their good work was discontinued because of the imperatives of politics. Whether it applies to land invasions or centralising impulses from the national government, we should never allow politics to jeopardise the safety of our citizens.”