The DA has noted the reckless and irresponsible comments by the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on the raids by members of the Berea community.

The MEC said the following: “I am delighted that finally, the communities of Gauteng are taking charge of their safety. The confiscation of drugs by community members is an indication that community members want to root out the scourge of drugs in their respective spaces.” The MEC’s comments are a clear indication that the ANC government has failed to ensure effective policing and are now looking to communities to defend themselves against criminals.

It remains the primary responsibility of government to ensure the safety of its citizens and it is unacceptable that MEC is calling on communities to do the job of the police. Communities taking the responsibility for their own safety by stepping in where the SAPS has failed, is becoming more noticeable in the province.

Through my listening tour, I have heard of members of Community Policing Forums (CPF) actively patrolling the streets in their neighbourhood without any means to protect themselves. In Tembisa I listened to local residents being victimised repeatedly by the same group of criminals without any action by the SAPS. Communities are feeling powerless and have lost faith in the police and have resorted to taking matters into their own hands. There is no urgency by the SAPS to respond to residents’ complaints and investigate cases.

While drugs and drug abuse are a huge problem in Gauteng, the DA would introduce specialised narcotics units to the SAPS to effectively deal with drug-related crimes. It is high-time that the residents of Gauteng are given the professional and efficient police service that they deserve.

We are also calling on communities to continue to provide SAPS with tip-offs and to report crime.

The DA is committed to bringing change to all residents in Gauteng, which the ANC government is clearly failing to do. A DA government will ensure that all police officers are professionally trained and effective in fighting crime.

Come 2019 when we govern Gauteng, we will fight corruption within the police, retrain police offices, hire people with a passion for policing and institute an effective drug-busting unit within SAPS.

We stand ready to bring change through an honest and professional police service.