The Western Cape has the highest shortage of police officers in the country, with 85% of police stations in the province understaffed. The standing committee on community safety in the Western Cape legislature asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate last year after it held a series of public hearings into the matter.

The ANC and crime in the Western Cape

By Ed Herbst

The Western Cape’s crippling police shortage by numbers News 24 5/7/2018

According to Smith, 4,502 police officers had been removed from the Western Cape over the last four years, and the conviction rate for gang-related violence was only 3%.

JP Smith wants the Western Cape government to take over policing GroundUp 28/9/2018

In 1998 Mark Wiley was chosen by the Democratic Party to be its provincial head of safety and security in the Western Cape and I interviewed him in his Cape Town office for SABC TV News.

I was startled at the time by what was, in retrospect, a trenchant claim – his assertion that the African National Congress, as a political tactic, was deliberately not allocating the opposition-governed Western Cape, an adequate number of police in terms of its population size.

That claim is re-iterated in one of the anchor quotes to this article by JP Smith, the mayoral committee member responsible for safety and security in the DA-governed Cape Town municipality.

It is one thing, though, not to allocate sufficient police to a province because it is governed by an opposition party, but something all the more sinister to deliberately weaken crime prevention in that province by intentionally withdrawing police from the province as JP Smith asserts.

Smith’s claim will resonate with any Capetonian who in 2012 watched – with anger and contempt – the desperate  but unsuccessful efforts of the then ANC Minister of Police, Nathi (Security Wall) Mthethwa, to prevent the sitting (using your money and mine, obviously) of what became known as the O’Regan/Pikoli Commission of Inquiry.

Breakdown in trust

The Commission’s brief was to interrogate whether policing in Cape Town’s Khyalitsha township was efficient and to ascertain why there had been a breakdown in trust between residents and the SAPS.

When Mthethwa lost the first round of the ANC’s attempted cover-up in the Western Cape High Court, he appealed to the Constitutional Court – using your money and mine obviously, because that’s how the ANC rolls – and lost there as well.

The Commission made 27 recommendations about how the safety and security of the people of Khyalitsha could be improved but another of the ANC’s deployed cadres, the incorrigibly-useless Police Commissioner,  Rhiya Pega, continued the Glorious National Democratic Revolution stonewalling – as the Wiki record proves:

In response to repeated requests from civil society, Helen Zille released a 22 page confidential letter from national police commissioner Riah Phiyega. In summarising the contents of the letter Zille stated that Phiyega ““denied, disputed or redirected to the (Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town)” every recommendation” from the commission concerning allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha.

Unmitigated tragedy

Cadre deployment has been and remains an unmitigated South African  tragedy and, as the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Finance,  David Maynier, stating the obvious, pointed out in parliament a few days ago: ‘…the governing party has destroyed the capacity of the state to investigate and prosecute serious commercial crime in South Africa.’

That goes for crime as a whole  as one South African Police Service scandal follows another and four years after the O’Regan/Pikoli Commission released its findings, the latest  research shows that ‘… residents living in the sprawling suburb of Khayelitsha about 30km from the city centre are far from being any safer.

In short, they still live in fear.

If the accusations of Mark Wiley and JP Smith are valid – that the ANC, for political reasons, is deliberately not providing equitable police staffing in the Western Cape – then we are looking at something extraordinarily evil because the majority of crime victims are the poor.

Two recent articles in the Cape Town Afrikaans morning newspaper, Die Burger, buttress the claims of Wiley and Smith.

The first article, on October 2 was headlined (my translation)

Trains have been burning for 10 years; no convictions as yet   

Over the past 10 years no one has been found guilty of setting trains on fire in Cape Town, while only two people have been arrested. 

Metrorail has only 47 carriages available of the 88 required to provide normal train services. 

This is according to Dan Plato, Western Cape minister of community safety, who on Monday reacted to the latest attacks on trains in the province before the weekend. 

On Friday afternoon three trains were set alight within two hours on Cape Town station, at Firgrove station near Somerset West, and at the Mbekweni station in Paarl. 

Plato stated that six carriages had been damaged in last week’s fire incidents. 

“The apparent intentional and planned attack on the backbone of the city’s transport system cannot be allowed to continue like this”, Plato said.

The numbers beggar belief. In 2017/2018 alone, 1496 coaches have been vandalised in Cape Town at a replacement cost of R451 million. This represents 71% of the total attacks on trains in the country.

You have to ask yourself how, in an age of CCTV cameras, this could possibly be true and, and more specifically why most of this pre-meditated destruction is happening in Cape Town.

For the past decade the ANC and the ANC Youth League have, again and again, reiterated their intention to make the Western Cape ‘ungovernable’ and PRASA – the state-owned enterprise responsible for most passenger rail services in the country, is not the only victim of this ANC policy.

Farming is the biggest employer in the Western Cape and the most significant earner of foreign exchange. In 2012 Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Marius Fransman and Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich gave every encouragement to the De Doorns protestors in a strike which cost the agricultural sector more than R2 billion in building and crop damage. Joemat-Pettersson, believe it or not, said strikers causing damage must not be prosecuted and called for all charges against them to be dropped. They were.

Would one be overly-cynical in asking whether the public transport system in Cape Town is not an integral part of this ANC commitment to mayhem in Cape Town?

Farm murders

The second article in Die Burger – my translation again – was published on 8 October and was headlined 1 year, 7 murders, and no one brought to book.

Two farm murders are included in this total.

In October last year Joubert Conradie (47) of the farm Uitkyk, near Stellenbosch, succumbed to his wounds after confronting robbers who had broken into his home. It was Conradie’s murder that sparked the ‘Black Monday’ march which subsequently reverberated around the world, despite the efforts of some English journalists and social media commentators to downplay the hate-crime elements of these bestial murders.

In June this year, Jeffrey Zettler, whose strawberry farm near Stellenbosch has been visited by millions of people, local and international, over decades was murdered. He was one of three South African farmers to be killed within 24 hours.  His widow was interviewed by Die Burger (but not, obviously, by the Cape Times) and said in the interview that her late husband had survived four previous attempts to murder him.

The fact that nobody has been arrested for the murders of Joubert Conradie and Jeffrey Zettler, like the zero conviction rate for train and station arson, underlines the extent to which the South African police and justice systems have been hollowed out by 24 years of the ANC’s ‘Glorious National Democratic Revolution’.

Ironically this also impacts on the ANC and the murderers of the latest victim of its self-enrichment internecine warfare, Luyanda Mbele, are unlikely to face justice. The chances are equally slim that those who silenced a Gupta whistle blower, 53 year-old Philemon Ngwenya, will be arrested.

In his GroundUp interview last month, JP Smith said:

“It’s time for national government to assign the policing function to province so that province can do it properly.”

It is difficult to dispute that statement.

There are two elements in the deliberate sabotage of the PRASA trains and stations in Cape Town which are harming the Western Cape economy and adversely affecting the lives of millions of railway commuters.

Arson and cable theft

The first is the arson and the second is the theft of cables.

In ten years of police investigation into the railway arson, there has not been a single conviction in the Western Cape – this has to be politically motivated. What other explanation can there be?

The theft of cable is however a municipal function and, in this regard, the Cape Town municipality’s ‘Copperheads’ team has, for years, delivered outstanding results.

Here is a report published by JP Smith in June:

In the first quarter of 2018, the City’s Metal Theft Unit conducted a number of autonomous operations, inspecting scrap yards and bucket shops. The unit also conducted numerous joint operations with the South African Police Service and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa in Milnerton, Bonteheuwel, Kalksteenfontein, Heideveld, Bishop Lavis and Netreg.

As a result of the unit’s interventions, 36 arrests were made and more than 29 000 kilograms of metal was recovered.

Below is a snapshot of interventions for January – March 2018, compared to the same period in 2017.


Arrests 11 36
Section 56 notices to appear in court 61 99
Impoundments 64 metres + 80 kilograms of copper cable 29 475.22 kilograms of copper

4 bags of aluminium strand

2 bags of lead sheath

12 metres of aluminium cable

5 metres of guard railing


PRASA, clearly despairing of any effective action to combat train arson in Cape Town by the ANC-controlled police force in the city, has now signed an agreement with the DA-controlled municipality and provincial government to join forces with the municipality’s Metro Police. A Rail Enforcement Unit has been established and is already achieving success.  This is a savage indictment of what seems to be a decade of politically-motivated ANC inaction against train and station arson in the province.

The crime situation is particularly acute in the Western Cape because, as Helen Zille pointed out in the provincial legislature recently, the province has ‘… one third less SA Police Service (SAPS) officers than the rest of the country, leaving ordinary citizens in neighbourhood watches and community policing forums to fill the gaps.’

The crime wave in the Western Cape – with Nyanga as its epicentre – and the state’s apparently intentional failure to counter it, is adversely affecting one of the province’s main source of income – tourism.  When a media outlet as influential as The Economist has a headline ‘Why Cape Town’s murder rate is rising’, then efforts to attract foreign tourists are substantially negated.

Notoriously-corrupt villains

In 2004, one of the ANC’s most notoriously-corrupt villains, police commissioner Jackie Selebi, disbanded the SAPS specialised detective units to the joy of criminals throughout the country.

Some cities retained specialised units however but last year the ANC disbanded the Durban Flying Squad’s G6 Narcotics Unit leaving anti-drug activists in the largely Indian suburbs of Chatsworth and Phoenix furious.

Now with an election looming and the ANC desperate to regain control of the Western Cape it has started an anti-gang unit on the Cape Flats, handing over 50 BMWs in the process.

Given the closure of the specialised anti-narcotics unit in Durban little more than a year ago, it is difficult to see President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sudden largesse on the Cape Flats as anything other than a deliberate pre-election ploy motivated by the hope of political gain rather than empathy. What, one wonders, will the reaction of Durban’s Indian community be to this news?

Doing the honours with Ramaphosa was Police Minister Bheki Cele.  Cele, who was dismissed by then President Jacob Zuma in 2012 for dishonesty was nevertheless chosen by Ramaphosa to be Police Minister in February this year.

Not a week goes by without someone being killed in Cape Flats gang violence and, as JP Smith pointed out, 5000 lives have thus been lost since the ANC disbanded the police Cape Flats Anti-Gang Unit in 2002.

The overriding concern for all South Africans is safety but this is not a concern of the ANC’s deployed cadres because they all – even Hlaudi Motsoeneng – have bodyguards paid for by you and me.

If the claims by Mark Wiley, Helen Zille and JP Smith – that the ANC, for political motives is not only withholding police from the Western Cape but withdrawing them, are valid – then its perfidy knows no bounds and it has blood on its hands.