By Naadiya Adams
With less than a week to the local government polls, political parties are heavy on the campaign trail to secure votes across provinces. The ruling party has been working hard on the ground to connect with voters and promise a better standard of living for all, but many have been disillusioned by the continuous unfulfilled promises and are in search of better leadership.
The ANC however, still holds a great deal of support around the country and Ministers as well as the President have been visiting local municipalities.
On Sunday, October 24th, Police Minister Bheki Cele visited various areas in Pretoria as part of the ANC electioneering campaign including Ward 61 which is home to the residents of Laudium, Erasmia and Itereleng. He came in support of ANC ward candidate Naeem Patel who Cele says is not a matter of “if” Patel makes Ward Councillor but rather a matter of “when”. If Patel does take up the title, he will be taking over from current Counsellor, the ANC’s Farouk Essop, who did not run for re-election this year.
Cele says they know what is going on, on the ground. They have said in light of the missing Moti brothers who were kidnapped en-route to school last week, they are close to solving the case and the minister receives updates regularly.
“We don’t have good news to respond and report on what is happening in Limpopo with the family of four kids, but almost everyday, mostly twice a day I get the update. We have put a special, multi-disciplinary team there. We have put a team of police, we have put a team of social workers coming on the team, health care workers they coming there and the legal team,” said Cele.
He says they have also invited headquarters to come and support the team with the latest machinery and technology and he says they are working hard to resolve the matter, which Cele says is close to being solved.
Crime is high on the country’s policing agenda says Cele, and he says there will come a time when innocents, women and kids can once again walk freely on the streets of South Africa without fear of intimidation or being attacked.
“Simply put, we are aware of what is happening, it is on that scope that even as the South African Police we have created a special team that deals with kidnapping, especially it will be here in Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape,” said Cele.
The Minister admits it has been tough, and he has seen the SAPS go through many staff cuts during his tenure where numbers should have been increasing.
“When I was National Police Commissioner of SAPS in 2010, we had 194 000 police to a population of 50 million, today we have police of 182 000 with a population of 60 million. So that’s why we all agree that its craziness to cut the budget of the security,” said Cele.
The Minister said both treasury and President Ramaphosa are in agreement that the security budget cannot be cut.