Author Archives: workinfo

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Rural Safety Plan

“Every farmer, farm worker  and rural community deserves to be safe.” Democratic Alliance

INTRODUCTION

Rural safety is an issue that affects the entire population of rural South Africa. Police stations in rural areas are usually located in such a manner that they are central to the region that they serve, but with service areas often spanning hundreds of square kilometres, effective policing of such areas is generally lacking.

Visible policing is almost impossible, as police officers are often unfamiliar with the terrain and areas in which they work. With training being more focussed towards urban crime, the South African Police Services (SAPS) do not always have the necessary skills to adequately police rural areas.

It is for this reason that the Democratic Alliance (DA) developed a viable rural safety plan to address the challenges in rural safety. This plan has been formulated in a manner that can be accommodated without legislative amendments, and that can be implemented within the parameters of existing rural safety strategies.

The DAs rural safety plan will ensure that every farmer, farm worker and rural community is guaranteed their safety and security.

Democratic Alliance

October 2019

2. PROPOSED SOLUTION

Specific rural sectors need to be created for police stations that serve a particular rural area. Any station serving a rural area must provide for at least one dedicated rural sector as part of its sector policing structure and plan. Stations that serve larger or predominantly agricultural areas will be required to divide such areas into several manageable rural policing sectors. Such sectors will have at least one regular SAPS member appointed as sector commander, in line with the current sector policing norms. This is not new to the SAPS and should, in theory, be how stations with rural service areas deal with their areas of responsibility.

With the entirety of rural South Africa now being divided into several rural sectors, these sectors will require boots on the ground to ensure visible policing as a deterrent for criminals and to function as first responders in instances where a crime has taken place.  Due to the SAPS’ unnecessarily top-heavy structure and given that the ranks of those at whose feet the actual job of policing will fall being thin, the SAPS will not be able to allocate a team of officers to each rural sector. The policing strategy is also very rigid and dictated from a national or provincial level.

Rural communities and its inhabitants know the areas in which they live, with many spending their entire lives in these communities. Community policing has shown to be an effective deterrent for crime, as citizens take on the responsibility of keeping an eye out for one another. Community participation is absolutely essential in the SAPS’ fight against rural crime. National or provincial strategies and plans do not always take into consideration the specific challenges and characteristics of the different areas under its control and as a result, such plans often do not find application and ultimately fail.

To this end, the DA proposes a bottom-up approach for rural safety. National and provincial strategies will still be issued for rural safety, but specific rural safety plans will be the exclusive domain of local and district (cluster) structures. In this context “district” refers to the boundaries and feeding area of a police station.

Districts will have the capacity to determine their own rural safety plans in line with the relevant national and provincial strategies, which will except at local station level. In this way, station commanders and visible policing elements will readily be able to provide input into and ensure the adaptability of rural plans.

At local station level, Rural Community Policing Units (RCPU) will be established for every police station that serves at least one rural sector. These RCPUs will comprise of volunteers from the local community that will assist the SAPS in rural sector policing. Volunteers will join a local RCPU and will only be utilised in the rural sectors which its assigned police station serves.

Volunteers will be allowed to join based on an “each-contributing-according-to-their-ability” principle, and the objective is to ensure that no person that passes a necessary security clearance is denied the right to participate in the policing of their rural area.

Volunteers will be allowed to join in one of the following categories:

▪   RCPU Reservists

▪   RCPU Support Members (including specialists)

▪   RCPU Auxiliary Members

▪   Rural Community Volunteers

▪   Existing Community Policing Forums

2.1 RCPU Reservists

RCPU reservists will function in a similar manner as SAPS reservists currently operate. This category will set a minimum standard which prospective members will have to satisfy in order to join. Such members will undergo specialised rural policing training, firearm training and may be allowed to drive allocated SAPS vehicles. This member will be the quintessential “part-time rural policeman”  and will form the backbone of a station’s RCPU capacity. These members will augment the regular duties of SAPS members in rural sectors and will be tasked as follows:

▪   Visible policing (patrols)

▪    First responders to emergency calls (both 10111 and via a proposed local Citizens Band system)

▪   Pursuit and apprehension of suspects

▪   Participation in special SAPS rural policing operations

2.2 RCPU Support Members (including specialists)

RCPU Support Members will still enlist as rural reservists but will make themselves available for one or more specific function. This category will accommodate those members of the community that wish to participate but are unable or unwilling to carry a firearm, or who may not meet the more stringent requirements of reservists. This category will also have specialists who have specific skills or expertise that may be invaluable for rural policing.

These members will fulfil special functions, such as patrol drivers, rural radio room operators and charge-office staff. They may also function alongside rural reservists in the execution of their duties, but will be limited to:

▪   Visible policing, both independent and with reservists and members of the SAPS

▪   First responders to emergency calls, but only to secure the scene pending a reservist or SAPS reaction

▪   Apprehension of suspects on the scene, with limited right of pursuit

▪   Participation in special SAPS rural policing operations

RCPU Support Members will, in certain circumstances, be allowed to enlist as specialist reservists at a district level, which is a slight departure from the station-level enlistment on which this model relies. Such members who may have proven skills and expertise in certain areas, such as pilots, divers, paramedics or drone operators, would be allowed to ply these skills under the supervision and command of the SAPS’ district rural safety units. In such circumstances, these reservist members will be allocated to a specific component of their applicable District Rural Safety Unit (DRSU).

2.3 RCPU Auxiliary Members

RCPU Auxiliary Members will also enlist as rural reservists but will have no special skills or competencies. These members will primarily operate as “boots on the ground” and will always function under the direct leadership of a rural reservist or SAPS member. These members will have the following limited duties:

▪   Visible policing in support of reservists and members of the SAPS

▪   First responders to emergency calls, but only to secure the scene pending a reservist or SAPS reaction

▪   Apprehension of suspects on the scene, with no right of pursuit

▪   Participation in special SAPS rural policing operations

2.4 Rural Community Volunteers

These members will not function or enlist as reservists but will instead function as a type of rural neighbourhood watch. These members will remain civilians and will not receive specialised training and will essentially function as the eyes and ears of the SAPS and RCPU. These volunteers will form a network with their neighbours in a manner similar to the existing SAPS CPF guidelines and will report any suspicious activity to the greater rural sector, the RCPU and the SAPS.

RCPU’s primary functions will vary in line with the needs of a specific local station or rural sector’s specific needs. These functions will be at the discretion of the visible policing commander, with the approval of the station commander and the relevant district visible policing commander, and may, subject to the needs and nature of the area served, include:

▪   Farm patrols

▪   Foot patrols or postings in isolated communities

▪   Stock theft prevention and tracking of livestock;

▪   Search and rescue

▪   Off-road and cross-country patrols

▪   Border patrols

▪   Roadblocks

2.5 Existing Community Policing Forums

For the purposes of this section, Community Policing Forums (CPFs) must also be read to include those civilian forums or groups that have not been established in line with the SAPS’s CPF-model.

An integrated community policing network is an effective deterrent for criminal activity in the area where such networks operate. These networks have proven successes, both in urban and rural areas and have taken on many forms, from farm- to neighbourhood watches. With this proposed rural safety model being so reliant on community participation, CPFs will prove to be invaluable assets in the fight against crime. These forums are often organised and equipped in a very similar manner to that which is being proposed here and have a sound relationship with their local SAPS.

This model does not seek to replace any rural CPFs that already exist but will instead seek the voluntary incorporation of these entities into the RCPU model. Our model is focussed on sector policing, which more often than not aligns with the spatial organisation of CPFs in rural areas, which means that most rural CPFs could effectively be incorporated into the RCPU structure for a specific station as a complete sector component.

These entities will only benefit from incorporation into the greater RCPU model, as they will form part of a direct reporting line with the SAPS. Integration will also bring other forms of SAPS support, such as equipment, organisational support, financial support, and an integrated rural policing strategy.

3. RURAL POLICING SUPPORT NETWORKS

Support networks are essential to the functioning of our rural safety plan and this will include:

▪   Rural CB networks and radio rooms

▪   Rural policing by drone

▪   Financial support

3.1 Rural CB radio networks and radio rooms

A crucial requirement for the functioning of RCPUs and rural sectors will be the establishment of a rural radio network for every station. This CB network will have access to a special rural safety channel only and will not have any access to official SAPS radio frequencies or channels. These CB networks will be controlled by a rural radio channel radio room, situated at station level and operated by a member of the local RCPU.

To enable the effective functioning of this network, CB radio systems will be made available to all households in rural areas. Members of a local RCPU will also be allowed to install these systems in their vehicles and to access the network by means of handheld devices to ensure that this integrated network is not limited by mobility. These systems will have to be bought but will be heavily subsidised and have an off-line battery capacity. The ideal is to ensure that every rural household is integrated into a comprehensive and accessible network for the area in which they live.

Those who have access to this system will be able to radio in suspicious activity or identify a safety risk, which will be routed through the RCPU radio room and directed to RCPU and SAPS members in the area, who will, in turn, respond to the report. This radio system can also be used for a twice-daily roll-call of all members in a particular sector, depending on how many members are present in a specific sector.

This radio network will allow distress calls to be routed directly to RCPU members without having the delay that the 10111-line is notorious for. With RCPU members having specialised knowledge of the area and even knowing the caller, response times will be cut to the absolute minimum. Off-duty members with CB access will also hear these calls and can choose to respond if the call is in close proximity.

This network will not only ensure that those in need of assistance are heard immediately but will effectively bring rural communities closer in communication with one another, the RCPU and the SAPS in respect of safety matters.

3.2 Rural policing by drone

Across the globe, policing agencies have embraced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and drone technology in law enforcement. Whereas UAVs more closely resemble conventional aircraft in size and are predominantly used for military purposes, drones are not only smaller, but also cheaper, easier to maintain and operate and require less infrastructure layout to operate.

Making use of drones in policing rural areas can be a massive boon for both proactive and reactive policing. Proactively, drones not only have the ability to achieve similar conventional visible policing function objectives but can outperform conventional policing in many areas.

These devices can operate over an area for extended periods without tiring and can even be programmed to patrol and monitor certain areas automatically. Crime hotspots can be prioritised and monitored to ensure that possible instances of crime are addressed even before the crime occurs.

While a patrolling officer can be thwarted by merely waiting that they leave a specific area, not even knowing whether a drone is currently monitoring an area or not may very well deter criminals completely.

Even in spite of the proactive function of drone policing, an offence is still committed – drones will prove invaluable in the pursuit of a suspect. With the proposed integrated CB radio network putting rural residents in direct contact with local RCPU and SAPS components, information from the community can inform drone activity to the extent that suspects can be identified, pursued and pinpointed successfully long before a response unit can attend to the scene.

By equipping a drone with thermal imaging, night vision, or infrared imaging technology, it can be possible for suspects to be identified and pursued in any conditions and any time of day. Rural Policing Drone Units will make it impossible for criminals to hide anywhere in the vast expanses of the South African countryside.

Drone operators need also not be sourced from the ranks of the SAPS alone. With South Africans becoming increasingly technologically aware and capable, more digital and tech-minded individuals can join RCPUs as Support Reservists to operate drones and in this way, aid their fellow reservists and SAPS members.

While the Democratic Alliance will always acknowledge the invaluable role that SAPS members play every day in the policing of our country and would never seek to replace any officer with a machine, we also acknowledge the value that drone technology would add to the SAPS, RCPUs and other policing agencies in ensuring that rural communities are made safer.

3.3 Financial Support

Due to the challenges and sacrifices, rural policing will pose to members of the community that choose to participate in RCPU structures; it will only be fair and equitable for these members to receive financial support for their services. Due to the severe logistical problems that plague rural SAPS stations, RCPU reservists that, in line with the relevant rural policing plan and strategy, volunteer their own vehicles and equipment for rural patrols and reactions, will be reimbursed for expenses undertaken in the execution of their duties.

Rural reservists will also be entitled to a stipend for hours contributed to official RCPU purposes. The rationale behind this is rather simple. Firstly, it will provide a form of income, however small it may be, to many who have little or no economic prospects or hope in the areas where they live. This will provide a crucial contribution to the rural economy and provide many with a noble means of subsistence that would normally have eluded them.

Secondly, being paid a stipend will tip the scales in favour of the law in the countryside. South Africans are generally law-abiding people by nature. By paying reservists a stipend, many community members will be encouraged to join local policing structures. This will not only swell the ranks of local police, but it will have the added advantage of diminishing the pool from which external criminal elements can draw for their own criminal networks. Rural South Africans will no longer be compelled to partake in a life of crime to survive and will be much less receptive to those untoward elements who seek to recruit them.

Lastly, the RCPU reservist system will serve as a springboard for those who consider joining the SAPS. Reservists that wish to join the permanent ranks of the SAPS will be given preferential admission  to  the  Service,  providing  members  of  the  community  with  valuable  career opportunities.

SAPS and RCPUs will collaborate and cooperate with existing private security services and infrastructures such as security cameras and patrols to ensure a more coordinated response to incidents.

4. SAPS STRUCTURES

It’s important that our rural safety plans fit within SAPS structures. Below is an outline of how we envision this aspect.

4.1 District Rural Safety Units

It will not be fair or sufficient to leave rural policing to local stations and civilian volunteers. Rural Safety Units (RSU) will be established in the SAPS at a district level, which will, with the exception of RCPU specialist support members, be exclusively staffed by SAPS permanent members. These units will fulfil a rapid response capability and will be trained and equipped in such a manner which best serves this purpose.

These units will also plan and execute rural safety operations, under which circumstances a unit will take over the command of all RCPUs in the area of operation. Any coordinated rural safety operations initiated from a national or provincial level will be executed by the RSUs, and it will be these units that will enjoy the cooperation of various provincial components, such as canine units, air wings and specialised mounted units.

A vital component of any rural safety plan is education. RSUs will not only be tasked with active policing but will play an essential passive and secondary function by ensuring that all rural communities in the relevant districts are educated and kept up to date on best rural safety practices. These units will also be responsible for raising awareness of the RCPU model in these communities as a tertiary function, with applications for RCPUs being sent to these units as a point of first contact.

RSUs will attend to the drafting and implementation of district-based rural safety plans, which plans will be compiled in consultation with the station commanders and visible policing heads of all stations with at least one rural sector under its command.

4.2 SAPS Provincial Rural Safety Directorate

At a provincial level, the Provincial Rural Safety Directorate (PRSD) will oversee the functioning of all RSUs as part of the provincial visible policing. The PRSD will furthermore act as the coordinating body for the training of RCPU members, which training will be facilitated at a district level.

This directorate will resort under provincial visible policing, which commander will, in turn, incorporate the PRSD into the existing provincial visible policing reporting structure, which in turn will fit into the greater national structure.

4.3 Rural Crime Intelligence Division (RCID)

To ensure that proactive policing is given as much assistance as possible, a Rural Crime Intelligence Component will be established as part of the SAPS’s Crime Intelligence Division (CID). With CID already being tasked with tracking criminal elements and reporting to the State Security Agency via the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee for national purposes, the establishment of a specialised rural CID component  will assist in collating, processing and distributing information about rural safety.

This component will mostly function at a district level, where information will be gathered, collated and provided to best assist the functioning of RSUs and RCPUs. The crime intelligence network that will be established as part of this component’s functions will ensure that a well- established network of informants, tip-off structures and proactive action will serve to further illuminate the threats that loom over rural South Africa.

4.4 Accommodation within the existing framework

The RCPU  reservist model can be accommodated without any amendments  to legislation, regulation or current reservist policy. There is no reason why the SAPS should not be implementing this concept.

The only aspects of the reserve component of the SAPS that may deserve review are the qualifications and minimum requirements that are set for prospective members to join the Service. These requirements will not only limit enlistment to RCPU’s but seem to be the cause of the SAPS’s all-time low reservist participation rate. Participation in the reserve service must be broadened to enable access, not restricted to exclude those who wish to assist in the policing and safety of their communities.

5. CONCLUSION

This proposed plan seeks to ensure coordinated community-oriented policing in rural areas, by rural volunteers. This model is adaptable in nature and will place the focus on the unique challenges faced by every district, instead of having a single, uniform national or provincial plan and strategy forced upon them by a bloated SAPS command structure.

With its visible policing and “boots on the ground” focus, this model will illuminate the coverage gaps that the SAPS currently experiences in rural areas. This model will not only ensure that criminals will no longer have the luxury of committing their heinous deeds in isolated communities but will unify and strengthen these communities into a rural society that is consolidated against the criminal scourge that threatens the lives and wellbeing of all rural South Africans.

The model proposed by this document, is constitutional, can be implemented without any amendments  to  existing  legislation,  regulations  or  policies  and  will  serve  as  an  effective mechanism to combat the scourge of rural crime.

Download the Rural Plan in PDF


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Shortage of police holding cells in Centurion a worry

https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/shortage-of-police-holding-cells-in-centurion-a-worry-35255658

PRETORIA NEWS / 18 OCTOBER 2019, 07:17AM / LIAM NGOBENI

File photo: Independent Media

Pretoria – Only one of five Centurion police stations have holding cells.

In an answer to a parliamentary question by the DA, the Minister of Police Bheki Cele said that few criminals could be detained overnight by Centurion police.

Speaking to the Pretoria News, DA MP Cilliers Brink said the response received after asking about the capacity of Centurion police station holding cells was that only Wierdabrug had cells to hold persons overnight.

“Criminals arrested by police in Lyttelton, Olievenhoutbosch, Erasmia, and Laudium all have to be taken to other police stations for detention.”

He said it was worrying that suspects arrested by Olievenhoutbosch police had to be taken to Wierdabrug as the two police stations are more than 15km apart.

“Wierdabrug, in turn, can only detain 60 male and five female suspects overnight – a startling ratio to the tens of thousands of people who live in this combined precinct,” said Brink.

Suspects arrested in Erasmia and Laudium have to be taken to Atteridgeville, and those arrested in Lyttelton have to be taken to Sunnyside.

Another concern was that of these police stations only Atteridgeville had separate holding cells for juvenile and LGBTQI individuals.

Brink said they feared the shortage of police holdings cells could have the effect of discouraging police from arresting and detaining most criminal suspects they encountered.

Crime activist Yusuf Abramjee shared similar sentiments about the state of police stations and ferrying of suspects to other holding cells.

“This is indeed very worrying and we’ve had this problem all through the years. Transporting suspects to other holding cells is a major problem.”

He said the government ought to invest more money into holding cells.

“At the Erasmia police station, building came to a stop some years ago. Public Works is not doing anything. The current police station is small and jam-packed.

“The Laudium police station is a mess. The building is old and it is in poor condition. The cells are small and suspects are transferred to other stations. We need urgent interventions,” said Abramjee.

Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said: “It is true that the infrastructure of the police stations are not the same.

“However, neighbouring stations offer support to one another in order for service to the community to continue unhindered.”

Pretoria News


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Under-resourced Erasmia SAPS has only two working vehicles

“After SAPS public meeting was held, we submitted our petitions of Ward 48 Centurion to SAPS. We went further and asked questions and raised the matter of poor services of SAPS in Centurion at Parliament. We will continue driving this issue of poor service delivery on crime in our area.” Cllr Kingsley Wakelin

Democratic Alliance media statement by
Michael Shackleton MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety

16 October 2019

Under-resourced Erasmia SAPS has only two working vehicles

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that Erasmia SAPS in Centurion has only two working vehicles for patrols and crime prevention operations.

This was revealed to me by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to MEC Mazibuko this station only received one additional vehicle on 6 August for the 2019/20 financial year.

This indicates that this station now has two working vehicles and two vehicles which are currently being repaired.

These vehicles are servicing a geographical area of 565 square kilometres.

This is unacceptable as this means that the police officers assigned to the area are unable to effectively safeguard the community they serve.

Our residents deserve a police service that is adequately resourced to keep them safe in their homes and on the street.

I will be tabling follow-up questions to the MEC in the Legislature to ascertain what plans are being put in place to ensure that our police stations that are severely under-resourced are given the resources they need to combat crime.

Media Enquires

Michael Shackleton MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety

Charity Moyo
GPL Media and Issues Specialist


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New nature reserve for Centurion

https://rekordcenturion.co.za/181451/new-nature-reserve-for-centurion/

The Crocodile River Reserve in Centurion is finally declared a protected nature reserve by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

More than 3 000 hectares of pristine land in Tshwane form the core of this reserve, lying between the Schurveberg Mountain in the north and Renosterskop in the north-west.

This declaration by the department marks the end of a 40-year process by about 100 local landowners to give it protected status.

“The residents of Laezonia and Schurveberg have been fighting for this for many years,” said local ward councillor Kingsley Wakelin.

Wakelin said the new status would go a long way in ensuring the development was properly controlled in the area.

“Because it is now officially a green area, the reserve can be protected in terms of what kinds of development takes place.

“This will stop the urban creep that has been threatening the area for some years now.”


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Gauteng: ‘Astounding numbers’ from DA internal polling shows the party is closing gap on the ANC

https://www.news24.com/Elections/News/gauteng-astounding-numbers-from-da-internal-polling-shows-the-party-is-closing-gap-on-the-anc-20190430

The DA has moved to within six percentage points of the ANC in Gauteng, with the governing party’s decline in the country’s economic heartland seemingly continuing despite a concerted effort to win back lost voters, according to the DA’s internal polling. 

The poll, which News24 has seen, shows support in Gauteng for the three biggest parties last Monday (April 22) stood at:

–          ANC: 44%, down from 48%

–          DA: 38%, up from 34%

–          EFF: 10%, down from 11%

Nationally the DA is polling in the range between 24% and 26% and the ANC between 56% and 59%.

These numbers, described by one party strategist as “astounding”, have also forced the DA to accelerate its preparations for government. According to senior staffers they have begun their preparations to take over the Gauteng provincial government in earnest, including identifying current senior officials implicated in wrongdoing and corruption who they will act against.

The party has also started preparing some officials to take up senior government positions, including those who will be deployed as heads of department.

These numbers suggest that the ANC has not been able to win back support lost since 2014 and that efforts by the DA to woo disillusioned former ANC supporters are getting more traction than initially thought.


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State Capture wipes out third of SA’s R4.9-trillion GDP

Put differently: State Capture has wiped out a third of South Africa’s R4.9-trillion gross domestic product, or effectively annihilated four months of all labour and productivity of all South Africans, from hawkers selling sweets outside schools to boardroom jockeys.


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Tragic KZN floods are a call to action on climate breakdown

The tragic floods that have taken the lives of 85 people in KZN should not be seen in isolation. Together with the drought in the Western Cape, the wildfires on the Garden Route and the intense tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth that have hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, they are part of a bigger picture of climate breakdown.

They are red flags we ignore at our peril, dots we can’t afford not to join. It is no longer disputed that the growing intensity and frequency of these “natural” disasters is due to the increased levels of carbon in our atmosphere due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels. The resulting greenhouse effect is growing ever stronger, the effects ever more deadly.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned we humans have only twelve years to avoid catastrophe. We have just a dozen years to limit average global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which further warming will trigger runaway climate breakdown from which there will be no coming back.

Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed at the systemic level. This is our only choice: change our systems or change our climate. Governments must take the lead in driving the system changes we need – both to minimise climate disruption and to build resilience into our water, energy, food and infrastructure systems.

SA has a massive carbon footprint relative to the size of our economy. This is largely because our electricity system is so reliant on coal, but also because our transport and other systems are so inefficient. There is much we can do to reduce it.

First and foremost, South Africa needs to rapidly move away from our current monopoly energy supply system to a market-based system. Independent power producers including small-scale producers such as households and businesses with solar panels must be allowed to feed power into the grid. And municipalities must be able to purchase power directly from producers.

The DA-run Western Cape government has enabled small-scale producers to generate their own electricity with solar panels in 22 municipalities, and in 18 of those, excess electricity can be sold back to the grid.

South Africa is blessed with much sunshine and good wind conditions, while the cost of renewable generation is plummeting. A diversity of power suppliers and sources would not just make our electricity cheaper and more reliable, but also cleaner, as more producers of renewable energy come on board.

Our transport system also needs a major overhaul. Rail transport is much more energy efficient than road transport and should play a far greater role in moving both passengers and freight. That means appointing honest, capable individuals to head up PRASA, Transnet and Metrorail services, as well as devolving more power to individual metros so that rail systems can be integrated with bus systems on a “single-ticket” basis.

In Cape Town alone, for example, the number of people using rail has dropped from 650 000 to just 250 000 in the past five years, with the result that road congestion and carbon emissions have soared.

Our packaging system must also be overhauled to drastically reduce the amount of carbon emitted. For example, compulsory refunds for glass and plastic containers would ensure that users return them for re-use or recycling.

At the same time as moving to less carbon-intensive systems, we must anticipate climate disruption and disaster and build the necessary resilience into our systems.

Despite three years of drought in the Western Cape, agriculture and agri-processing still managed to create 10 000 jobs since 2015. The provincial government’s online platform, Fruitlook, uses satellites to help farmers to optimise water usage by telling them exactly how much water their crops need. We have mapped 5.7 million hectares of farmland, including the entire fruit-producing area of 220 000 ha. Farmers have reported water savings of up to 30% by using Fruitlook.

We have also introduced a method of “Conservation Agriculture” for wheat farmers, with a 98% take-up in this sector. Wheat production is higher across the board despite the drought.

In both climate mitigation and adaptation, the opportunities to innovate, save, and restore are limitless, exciting and urgent. The imperative to act is not just economic and social but moral, because communities and countries with the lowest carbon emissions pay the highest prices.

Globally and locally, the impact of climate breakdown will be suffered unequally. As is so often the case, the poorest will suffer the most. Poor countries at the tropics will suffer the most severe effects of crop losses, destruction and displacement from changed climate and extreme weather events. Within countries, the poor will suffer more than the rich, who have more buffer against rising food prices and other impacts.

Changing our systems so that we live sustainably on this planet will bring a better and fairer world. In the short time left to us to avoid runaway climate catastrophe, this change can only be brought about by government. On 8 May, a vote for the DA will be a vote for cleaner, more resilient systems.

Warm regards,

Mmusi Maimane

DA Leader


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These are the best and worst run municipalities in South Africa

Two new independent reports have been published which assess the financial stability, and governance of South Africa’s municipalities.

The Municipal Financial Stability Index published by Ratings Afrika, assesses how the country’s municipalities manage their money, and how this impacts service delivery in those areas.

The group defines financial stability as the ability to deliver services, develop and maintain the infrastructure required by its residents without unplanned increases in rates and taxes or a reduction in the level of services.

It also means a municipality is able to absorb financial shocks caused by external factors, without needing financial assistance from third parties.

To determine the top and bottom performers in this index, Ratings Afrika assessed the financial statements of municipalities to June 2018, as reported to National Treasury.

Worryingly, the 2018 index found that most of the municipalities in South Africa are in financial distress, lacking proper budget planning and not exercising adequate fiscal discipline, with expenses exceeding income and resulting in losses.

“Only 23 municipalities from the sample of 100 have reported operating surpluses, with the remaining 77 reporting operating deficits,” Ratings Afrika said.

“The combined profits of those with a surplus amount to only R1.4 billion, whereas the combined losses amount to R13.3 billion.”

Further, the combined working capital shortfall for the sample was R23 billion – making it almost impossible for these municipalities to provide any services, it said.

“This might lead to a total breakdown in service delivery, with catastrophic consequences for residents and businesses, which in turn could encourage political unrest.”

Looking at specific areas, the weakest provinces are Free State and North West, with average scores of 17 and 24 respectively. The majority of the municipalities in these provinces are in serious financial trouble, the group said.

The Western Cape, with an average of 63, is the highest scoring province and it is also the province that has improved the most over the last five years, from 52 in 2014 to 63 in 2018. Western
Cape is the only province whose governance practices are considered to be sound.

The tables below show the best and worst municipalities in each province:

Best and worst-run municipalities

A second report, Government Performance Index for 2019, comes from think-tank Good Governance Africa (GGA).

GGA’s index ranks 213 local municipalities from best to worst based on how they deliver across three main indicators: quality of administration, economic development, and service delivery.

In the group’s analysis it looked at whether a municipality has enough skilled personnel to manage the running of the area, and how it delivers on services like providing water, sanitation, education, electricity, housing, waste removal, healthcare and policing.

Financial management and reporting is also analysed.

According to the GGA index, Mossel Bay municipality is the best-reun municipality in the country, followed by the Senqu municipality in the Eastern Cape.

Of the top 20 municipalities, 12 are in the Western Cape, and 11 are run by the Democratic Alliance, with four others being DA/other party coalitions.

On the opposite end of the scales, Msinga municipality in KwaZulu Natal was ranked as the worst-run in the country, below uMhlabuyalingana in the same province.

Among the bottom 20 municipalities, nine are found in KwaZulu Natal, and seven are in the Eastern Cape. Most are ANC-led, with the IFP running four of them.

The table below outlines the top and bottom 20 municipalities in the country, according to GGA.

#MunicipalityProvinceParty#MunicipalityProvinceParty
1Mossel BayWCDA194NyandeniECANC
2SenquECANC195JoziniKZNIFP-led
3SwartlandWCDA196NongomaKZNANC
4Sol PlaatjeNCANC197MakhuduthamagaLPANC
5Greater KokstadKZNANC198Thembisile HaniMPANC
6MidvaalGPDA199Greater TaungNWANC
7Khai-Ma LocalNCANC200RatlouNWANC
8BergrivierWCDA/KGP201MbhasheECANC
9Cape AgulhasWCDA202MaphumuloKZNANC
10Prince AlbertWCDA/KGP203NdwedweKZNANC
11SwellendamWCDA204NquthuKZNIFP
12CederbergWCDA205UmzumbeKZNANC
13MatzikamaWCDA206MbizanaECANC
14OverstrandWCDA/COPE207EngcoboECANC
15WitzenbergWCDA208MatatieleECANC
16KoukammaECDA209NkandlaKZNIFP
17HantamNCDA/FF+210NtabankuluECANC
18Nama KhoiNCANC/KSR211Port St JohnsECANC
19HessequaWCDA212uMhlabuyalinganaKZNANC
20LangebergWCDA213MsingaKZNIFP

According to Ratings Afrika, the South African municipal sector is currently facing collapse – and correction will require decisive political leadership that looks after the interests of the residents including that of the business community.

While not mentioning the ANC by name, the group said that the current political leadership in control of the majority of municipalities has demonstrated over the last five years and more to not being capable of sound governance.

“This is the main cause of the deteriorating financial sustainability of the municipal sector in South Africa,” it said.

It suggested that leaders stop looking after their own interests, root out corruption, appoint managers with the right skills and experience to implement sound budgetary practices, and exercise strict financial discipline.


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