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HomeNewsConcern about limitations municipalities face in tackling crime-fighting issues

Concern about limitations municipalities face in tackling crime-fighting issues

Concern about limitations municipalities face in tackling crime-fighting issues

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Cape Town – Although South Africa’s municipalities have a safety mandate, they face capacity constraints and other challenges in preventing crime by law enforcement.

This was one of the findings contained in a preliminary report recently released by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in co-operation with the SA Local Government Association (Salga) on the state of local government law enforcement and how municipalities can raise their crime-fighting profiles.

This report, which focused on the law enforcement powers, capacities and challenges of local government, explores critical issues that local governments must address to strengthen their responses to safety challenges.

The reports noted the constraints in by-laws, their development, training and human resources development, police and National Prosecuting Authority approach to traffic and by-law violations, including municipal courts in enforcing traffic laws and by-laws in municipalities.

Ugeshni Naidoo, Salga’s senior manager for community safety and asset protection, said many municipalities do not have effective by-laws, while those that have them, don’t have the required capacity to enforce them.

She said this was a challenge on how municipalities created an environment that fostered economic and social development of communities.

Senior consultant at ISS and report co-author David Bruse said there was a need for better information and understanding at the local level regarding challenges to safety and how law enforcement can best support it.

He said there was also a need for a commitment to coherent policy in order to support municipalities’ ability to optimise their contribution to law enforcement and safety.

The report recommended, among others, a greater emphasis on co-operation between law enforcement agencies and service delivery departments in metros and other local governments, as well as training of metro police and law enforcement officials and people responsible for overseeing by-laws to understand social contexts.

It also recommended an analysis to strengthen an understanding about how by-laws and by-law enforcement can most contribute to violence prevention and safety.

Salga portfolio head Nozibele Makanda said the association would continue making the collaboration with police for the support of municipalities by strengthening crime prevention and response efforts.

Makanda said Salga would further work to lobby to have all municipalities establish at least three basic units within community safety such as traffic management and parking, by-law enforcement or compliance and infrastructure protection.

mthuthuzeli.ntseku@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

Original Article

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