A resolute stance against crime and an unwavering commitment to community safety were demonstrated as Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen undertook a series of safety initiatives in Stellenbosch. These actions are pivotal to the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) Safety Plan, an audacious strategy that strives to halve crime rates by 2029.
A comprehensive effort, this initiative involved scrutinizing operations at critical South African Police Service (SAPS) stations in the region, namely the Stellenbosch, Kayamandi, and Cloetesville stations. This proactive approach follows a recent petrol bomb attack on the Kayamandi station amid a mini-bus taxi strike. Premier Winde minced no words as he expressed his dismay, saying, “It appalls me that the very people tasked with protecting community members, putting their personal safety on the line, are so brazenly attacked.” This sentiment was conveyed during a candid exchange with SAPS and Stellenbosch municipality officials at the Kayamandi station.
Minister Allen expressed optimism about the ongoing refurbishment of the vandalized Kayamandi station, reiterating the importance of swift justice for those responsible. He was emphatic in his stance, stating, “Destroying infrastructure, particularly that which is owned by the state, is not how grievances should be expressed.”
One of the salient revelations during these initiatives was the adverse impact of the energy crisis on essential services. Minister Allen underscored this reality by highlighting the Cloetesville police station’s lack of power during load shedding, impeding its ability to cater to the community’s urgent needs. He also brought to light the glaring police-to-population ratio in the area, which stood at an unacceptable 1:1242. In response, Minister Allen stressed the urgency of decentralizing policing powers to capable provincial administrations, advocating for the Western Cape Government’s aptitude in managing this critical responsibility. He remarked, “Our dedicated men and women in blue, as well as the communities they serve, deserve so much better.”
Premier Winde concurred with Minister Allen’s standpoint, praising the commitment of the police officials encountered during their visits. He highlighted the pressing issue of vehicle shortages and staffing deficits at various SAPS facilities across the province. Premier Winde exuded hope for a brighter future, asserting that entrusting the Western Cape Government with the police service’s management could bring about significant enhancements.
In a commendable demonstration of engaging with the community directly, Premier Winde and Minister Allen participated in a roadblock operation, engaging with motorists to gather insights into their safety concerns. This initiative was followed by a united effort alongside neighborhood watches, Community Police Forum (CPF) members, police personnel, local law enforcement officers, and private security workers during a patrol in Cloetesville. This unified action underscores the synergy between different stakeholders committed to fostering safety measures.
Minister Allen conveyed heartfelt appreciation to all volunteers and law enforcement members dedicated to enhancing safety in Stellenbosch and the broader Western Cape region. His sentiments were clear: “Their efforts do not go unnoticed.”