Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said the multimillion-rand police station which had been planned for Muizenberg would not contribute to “radical transformation” because people living in the seaside suburb were having fun.
Mr Mbalula’s comments come after his deputy, Bongani Mkongi, seemingly made unilateral statements at the weekend, declaring to the Khayelitsha community that the R100 million project had been scrapped.
Neither the police nor Public Works could confirm the cancellation, however.
“Why are we building a R100m police station in Muizenberg when people in Muizenberg are having fun?” Mr Mbalula said during a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday.
“That is not radical transformation. It is biased transformation. Radical transformation is when you take the resources where they are needed,” Mr Mbalula said.
Mr Mkongi, who appears to have gone to ground since his utterances on Sunday, further reportedly alleged it was the DA which had commissioned the upgrade and extension of the Muizenberg station, and blamed the party for the debacle.
“Politically the DA signed for this ‘hotel’ in Muizenberg. They are the party of the whites not the majority. They don’t represent the people on the ground” Mr Mkongi said.
But DA community safety spokesperson, Mireille Wenger, said Mr Mkongi could not be further from the truth. “Policing is an entirely national government function, as provided for by the constitution,” Ms Wenger said yesterday.
“The decision of where and when police stations are built, and what budget is allocated for this purpose, rests solely with the national (ANC) government. But because the deputy minister could not defend his own department’s illogical decision to spend R100m on a ‘police palace’, instead of exercising leadership in the department he has instead decided to blame the DA.”
Ms Wenger added that the DA-led Western Cape government had no legal mandate to determine the building of police stations; “this rests with the police and national Department of Public Works”, she said.
“In light of these facts, the (deputy) minister appears to be desperate and instead of taking responsibility for a bad decision made by his department, he has shifted the blame elsewhere – if he even knows where to assign blame.
“He owes the people of the Western Cape an apology for his misleading remarks in the media and he similarly owes the DA an apology for his false comments,” Ms Wenger said.
Mr Mkongi’s spokesperson, Siyabulela Tom, did not respond to requests for comment.
– Cape Argus