Budget Debate on Vote 9: Community Safety

Apr 21, 2023 | Press Releases, Speeches

By
Hon. MB Gwala, IFP MPL
KZN Legislature
19 April 2023

Hon. Chairperson,
Hon. MEC,
Hon. Members,

As the IFP, we welcome the R11.5 million allocated for the proposed establishment of the Community Safety Intervention Unit for the protection of traditional leaders in KZN but this is long overdue.

It has been stated that this is a pilot project for three to six months, but nothing has been said about how the R11.5 million will be spent? What will happen after six months of this pilot project with regards to the protection of Amakhosi?
There are multiple cases involving the murder of Amakhosi that have been waiting for years to be resolved. Since 2018 to date, there have been eleven (11) Amakhosi killed and 33 of Izinduna killed.

During the swearing-in of office bearers, a massive phalanx of praetorian security guards and vehicles stand at the ready. Why then, does government fail to provide protection for Amakhosi? We appreciate that the question of the cost of VIP protection for Amakhosi – including implementation, which includes training of personnel – may be raised. However, can one put a price on the lives and safety of Amakhosi?

The killing of Amakhosi and Izinduna is not a police matter only: it also involves relatives, criminals, traditional leadership structures and the government of the day, which is failing to coordinate plans to stop this carnage of killing of Amakhosi and Izinduna. It is a fact that there are moles in government who are not honest about revealing sources who provided information about the killings. This reminds me of yesterday’s debate.

I would like to set the record straight on the issue of payment of Izinduna, as elaborated on by Hon. VF Hlabisa, Leader of the Official Opposition.

I am the senior Member of the Legislature who has been here for many years. I will never allow myself and the people outside to be hoodwinked by ‘Johnny-come-lately’ ANC politicians who are peddling lies about the issue of Izinduna.

Therefore, it is wholly deplorable that the ANC is hellbent in peddling lies on this matter.

I can confirm that the IFP’s late Inkosi Nyangakazipheli Ngubane, was the first person to raise the stipend of Izinduna, the payment and training of Amakhosi, Traditional Council Secretaries and Izinduna. It is a fact that empty vessels make the most noise, especially in politics, as ANC politicians in this House do.

Why did the late Inkosi ZM Mlaba, an ANC Member, sing the praises of the late Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane when he was responding to the 2001/2002 Budget Speech on Traditional Affairs? Go and read Hansard Volume 5 of 2001. The problem is that you don’t read. ANC politicians are calling it salaries of Izinduna: this is totally outrageous.

The late Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane did not behave like a political imbecile. He called it a stipend because he knew of the dire consequences if he called it a salary. As it stands, it means that Izinduna have now entered into a performance contract with government. The ANC has misled Izinduna and they have put them between a rock and a hard place. This is nothing but a strategy to get rid of genuine traditional leadership and replace it with fake leadership.

Further, we are concerned about mass killings that are happening in KZN, in areas such as KwaMashu, Umlazi, Nkandla and Eshowe to mention a few. This issue requires urgent attention from the relevant authorities. We need to have a clear understanding of the trend of the killings, the locations, the hot spots and look at causes.

Due to the high unemployment rate, the notion of paid assassins cannot be ruled out, as desperate people will resort to desperate measures to earn money to feed their families. The IFP demands action from the KZN MEC for Community Safety and Liaison. He must act swiftly and stop this bloodbath in KZN.

2023/24 BUDGET
The IFP resolved to accept the Budget as presented with the hope that more will be done to ensure that it will fulfil its intended purposes. The share that the Department of Community Safety got – of R250.6 million – is not adequate, although there is a slight increase compared to the 2022/23 Budget, which was R236.9 million.

The Department of Community Safety is the most underfunded Department in KwaZulu-Natal, compared to other departments. Considering that the Budget will be used in areas where there is instability and GBV, we don’t believe that the Department will be able to achieve its goals. GBV on its own is a scourge that needs to be tackled head-on.

This Budget looks good on the surface, but when one regards the major problems facing this Department, one cannot help but subscribe to the idea that more financial support should be given to it. We must remember that war is won only with adequate funding, even if means selling medals.

We believe that the KZN Department of Community Safety must get more funding, like that of Mpumalanga Province’s Department of Community Safety and Liaison.

Therefore, I urge those with authority to allocate finances to departments to be generous to this Department in future.

Further, the IFP believes that if we have under-resourced and dilapidated police stations in KwaZulu-Natal, it will be impossible to win the war against crime and keep citizens safe.

During an oversight visit last year by Members of the KZN Legislature, as part of the Police Stations’ Functionality Monitoring Programme, the shocking state of our police stations was revealed. As the IFP, we were expecting the Hon. MEC to tell us what has been done so far to address the challenges that were identified in the police stations during the oversight visit.

JUSTICE SYSTEM NEEDS OVERHAUL
Tougher sentences are needed for all criminal acts to act as a deterrent for any crime committed in our country. It is a fact that our justice system favours criminals more than the police and ordinary citizens, especially crime victims. The IFP is calling on the government to address the problems in our crumbling criminal justice system.

Police must be given stronger powers and protection, even if it calls for the Constitution to be amended.

We have heard of police being accused of incompetence in executing their duties, in particular in the arrest of criminals, but you only notice that police are doing their work when they arrest you. The fact of the matter is that police arrest criminals and are then let down by the courts releasing criminals.

We believe that the criminal justice system must carefully balance the needs of communities and society for protection and safety; the needs of victims for justice and reparation; and the need to hold offenders accountable, while ensuring their rehabilitation, social reintegration and reducing reoffending.

While we support work that is done by the police, we cannot shy away from the fact that there are rotten eggs among them, as there are also rotten eggs in this House.

Corrupt police officers must be exposed for their conduct. It is unacceptable for those entrusted to fight crime to be the culprits. In short, an ethical police force will require the scrupulous adherence to existing policies and standards, the ability to detect an individual or collective patterns of performance that fall short of that expectation, and the courage to deal with those who are responsible for those failures.

The IFP believes that we must all work towards eradicating crime to ensure that our Province is freed from ruthless criminals. Further, we call on all citizens to stand up and play an active role in fighting crime by reporting criminal activities to relevant authorities.

I thank you.

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