ATC200626: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Petition from the residents of Actonville and Wattville; Benoni calling on the Assembly to address the escalation of crime, including gender-based violence and violence against children, and the need for a police station in their area (Ms H Ismail), dated 26 June 2020
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Petition from the residents of Actonville and Wattville; Benoni calling on the Assembly to address the escalation of crime, including gender-based violence and violence against children, and the need for a police station in their area (Ms H Ismail), dated 26 June 2020
The Portfolio Committee received petition referred to it from the Speaker on 12 November 2019 (Order Paper: National Assembly No. 1–2020, 12 November 2019).
The Constitutional provides for petitions to be brought to parliament. Section 56 (d) and 69 (d) of the Constitution provides for the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to receive petitions, representations or submissions from any interested persons or institutions.
The process for the Committee to process the petitions are regulated in Chapter 14 of the Rules of the National Assembly (14th edition). Rule 337 (d) makes provision for the Speaker to table written instruments including special petitions and other petitions of a general nature.
Part 3 of the Rules makes provision for following:
Rule 344 makes provision for the form of the petition to be prescribed by the Speaker in accordance with the guidelines determined by the Rules Committee.
Rule 345 states that the petition must be in one of the official languages. All the petitions must be signed by the petitioners themselves according to Rule 346 (1).
According to Rule 347(1), a petition must be lodged by a member with the Secretary for approval and tabling by the Speaker, the Secretary Lodging of the petition and must be signed at the beginning thereof by the member. Rule 347(2) provides that a member may not lodge a petition on his or her own behalf, but such a petition may be lodged by another member.
Rule 348 makes provision for each petition to be deposited for at least one day with the Secretary who must submit it to the Speaker for approval before it is tabled in the Assembly. If the Speaker finds that the petition complies with the guidelines determined by the Rules Committee, the Speaker must approve it and table it in the Assembly without delay in terms of Rule 349.
After tabling, a petition is then referred in terms of Rule 350 (1) if it is a special petition to the committee on public finance and in terms of Rule 320 (2), to a relevant Portfolio Committee if it is a petition of a general nature.
The SAPS was invited by the Committee to respond to the petitions after which Members of the Committee engaged on the responses.
2. Actonville and Watville SAPS report
The SAPS reported on the two petitions received from Actionville and Watville communities. Given that Watville is a suburb of Actonville and policed by the Actonville police station, the SAPs reported on both the communities.
The police station services a surface area of 9km2 policing a population of 58 388 (2019 Statistics SA mid-year population estimates) divided into four sectors. There is one allocated vehicle per sector with two police officials per vehicle. The unemployment rate is estimated at 32% and there are 6 informal settlements with 26 schools accommodating 25 396 learners. The community has two clinics and three SASSA pay-points. In addition, there is one taxi rank, an influx of 20 000 commuters, three bottle stores,11 shebeens with nine second-hand goods dealers.
The police station is responsible for 13 shopping centres and 74 spaza shops and informal businesses, two banks and five sports and recreational grounds. There are no active courts in Actonville.
As far as human resources are concerned, the station has 71 visible policing members as when it staff establishment grants them 66, giving them a surplus of 7.5%. The detectives also show a surplus of three members from 23 granted to 26 which translates to a 13% surplus. Support personnel show a 35.4% decrease as the granted figure of 31 is staffed by 20 members, giving it a shortage of 11 members.
The SAPS has a shortage of six vehicles as they are granted 40 vehicles, but only have 34 which translates to a shortage of 15%. The station has bene granted seven vehicles for the 2019/20 financial year and an additional three vehicles are allocated for the 2020/21 financial year.
The SAPS reported that as far as crime was concerned, there was an overall increase of 2.4% in community-reported crime in the policing area, due to the following:
- Substance abuse.
- Rapid development, leading to an increase in population in the area.
- Gender-based violence, especially rape, has increased by five cases, compared to the same period in the previous financial year. Most suspects are known to the victims and have been arrested immediately.
- Crimes, dependent on police action for detection, showed a positive increase of 21.9%, with drug-related crimes increasing by 14.7%.
- The Wattville crime is included in the overall crime overview.
The SAPS further reported that they have launched a number of joint operations in the area which include operations from Thursday to Sunday, aligned to Operation O Kae Molao. In addition, the Actonville Police Station conducts daily operations, focusing on the following crime generators:
- Drug-related crimes.
- Licenced liquor outlets.
- Closing of unlicensed shebeens.
- Firearms and dangerous weapons, vehicle check points/stop and search.
- Compliance inspections at second-hand goods dealers.
- The following Social Crime Prevention initiatives are undertaken:
- Awareness campaigns.
- Drugs/Substance abuse.
- Domestic violence.
- Crime awareness tips.
- Operation Divine Intervention, in conjunction with local religious leaders.
The SAPS also noted that they conducted 2142 patrols, 1462 stop and search operations, 719 vehicle checkpoints and 34 crime awareness campaigns.
The SAPS noted that Wattville is a suburb, located in the Actonville policing precinct and is shared by sectors one, three and four. The Wattville hostel is located, in Sector one. The Rooikamp, Emlotheni and Emoyeni informal settlements, are located in Sector three.
Sector four includes the Harry Gwala informal settlement. All the informal settlements are without the basic municipal services. The SAPS reported that the establishment of a fully-fledged police station at Wattville was investigated. The work study investigation was finalised, approved and prioritised on the User Asset Management Plan (UAMP).
3. Committee Responses
The Petitioner, Hon Ismail thanked the Committee and the Chairperson for the hearing the petition. She questioned the number of sectors which the SAPS indicated as four and indicated that it was their response in questions to the Minister that there were discrepancies with respect to the number of sectors for the policing area. The Minister has indicated that there were three sectors while the SAZPS indicated that there were four sectors. The liquor outlets were not compliant with the by-laws and were situated within 20 metres from schools and places of worship. There was also a worry about the assassinations in Lancashire Road where three assassinations took place on Monday. The Vispol units were not responsive. The number of police reservists were questioned and there was no mention of police reservists at the Actonville police station in the presentation. There were many gender-based violence cases involving many women who run through the railway line. The members felt that the SAPS should be engaged. The petitioner asked the Committee what measures could be taken to bring order and peace to the area.
One of the Committee Members noted that the Minister should be engaged on the matters raised by the petitioners. The SAPS was asked to respond on the unanswered questions in written form via e-mail to the Committee.
The Chairperson made it clear that Members should not use petitions when they can ask questions to the Minister in the House.It was pointed out that the Chair should take it up with the Speaker who have referred the petition to the Committee.
4. SAPS response
The SAPS noted that it will do a comparison with the responses it gave to the Committee and that of the Minister and provide the reply to the Committee. As far as liquor stores situated near to schools, the SAPS indicated that it does not have the discretion to decide where the licences are issued. However, they agreed that it made it very difficult for the SAPS to police the shebeens. A feasibility study has been undertaken to consider whether Wattville should have its own police station. There is no kiosk in the area and the SAPS has noted that it will request the Committee to support it in establishing a kiosk. Three people were shot and the investigations and profiles have shown that it was gang-related shootings. The investigation continues.
The Chair thanked the SAPS and the Petitioners for engaging on the issues and noted that all the outstanding responses must be forwarded in writing the Committee.
Report to be considered
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