For the record

JP Smith, Mayoral committee member for safety and security

The City of Cape Town notes the article “Number of law enforcement officers drop”, False Bay Echo, Thursday March 19.

While it is true that there has been a drop in the number of law enforcement resources in some areas as a result of the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP), it is unfortunate that the issue is being pitted as an “us and them” scenario.

As indicated by the executive director for safety and security in his response in the article, many of the law enforcement staff members who were on expanded public works programme (EPWP) contracts, which are generally short-term in nature, opted for greater job security through the contracts afforded to LEAP members.

While this has created a reduction in the number of officers in the areas mentioned, this is a short-term deficit which is being addressed through the recruitment and training of additional staff.

The City has reacted to the list of complaints received about the apparent increase in by-law transgressions like informal trading, aggressive begging, illegal parking etc. and we will deploy specialised units to assist.

However, it is crucial to maintain a sense of perspective, or acquire such perspective, about crime and anti-social behaviour in Cape Town and the areas most in need of increased resources.

The City, through its partnership with the Western Cape government, is not trying to replace SAPS, as alleged in the article, but we have a duty to increase the visible enforcement presence in areas that have been starved of any enforcement for many years, resulting in unnecessary hardships on those communities.

Any person who disagrees with the objectives of the LEAP programme is sadly out of touch with the reality of many of our most vulnerable residents in Cape Town.